Nov 18, 2021
Nancy Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Transcript November 18
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference on November 18, 2021. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
… vaccinations and the difference it’s made in families’ lives and being able to come together, more than we were able to last year, for sure. And testing, again, helping in that regard. Again, this Monday, we had another Biden child tax credit go out to families, enabling them to care for their children. And again, the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Good paying union jobs across the country. Again, water systems, roads, bridges, mass transit, broadband, so many good things for our country. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. And again, we’re ready for the passage of Build Back Better. As you may know, the debate on the legislation has already begun on the floor.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:50)
Before I go into that and the good paying jobs, lowering of taxes, the lowering of costs, and that it’s paid for by having the wealthy and corporate America pay their fair share, I’m going to talk about some economic good news. Since President Biden has been president, unemployment claims are down 70%. Since he has been president, there’s 7 million new jobs created under President Biden and Congressional Democratic leadership. The backlogs in the ports are now being reduced at least by 30%. I stay close to this as a Californian in a port city. And again, consumer spending is up. Contrary to some fears, consumer spending is up. Again, the Build Back Better builds on this progress with transformative measures.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:50)
Let me talk about that. Good paying jobs. It builds back better and builds back better for women, especially. But others who have been under, not being able to participate in the economic prosperity of our country in the fullest way, by having, again, good-paying jobs that go with healthcare and the care can’t wait initiatives in the legislation. And of course, good paying jobs in the green sector, as we protect our planet for future generations. That in taxes, the child tax credit, as I mentioned earlier, making a difference in the lives of America’s families. Lower cost, especially in the prescription drug area, where we are negotiating for lower prices. But also, we are preventing pharma from raising prices above inflation. And again, it’s paid for by wealthy corporations paying their fair share.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:53)
How women will be more in the workplace, and dads too, should they have responsibilities at home, which I assume they do. It’s universal, free, pre-K, and childcare, which goes with that enabling, liberating women to be more fully in the workplace. It’s about home healthcare. If you, as a man, woman, whatever, in terms of parent or grandparent, have someone home to care for, whether it’s an elder, or a sibling with disability, or a child, now you can have access to home healthcare. This is important, not only to liberate the person to go to work, it’s important to respect the work workers who will do the home healthcare. And that is transformative. That is a new initiative. It will also talk about, again, millions more people being able to be on the Affordable Care Act and lowering costs for people on Affordable Care Act and who pay for their own insurance. This is a very important health piece.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:07)
In terms of the investment in combating the climate crisis, I think I’ve seen you since I was in Glasgow. We had a delegation, 22 members, our chairs, some of our members of the select committee. We were happy to have new members of Congress there, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joining some of the members of her class there. They had their own press conference, the class of 2018, about how to approach the climate crisis.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:39)
It gave us great hope. We had the highest level meetings there and were inspired about what happened. And it’s a took a giant step forward. But we have to do our share, our fair share. And so, what that’s about is creating good pay. It’s about healthcare for our children, clean air, clean water. It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs, good paying union jobs to keep us preeminent in green technologies throughout the world. You’ve heard me say it’s a national security issue, as the national security advisors tell us. A competition for [foreign language 00:05:14] and resources with drought and rising sea levels, et cetera, can cause conflict. And of course, a moral obligation for us to hand this planet over to the next generation in responsible way.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:28)
For me, it’s a religious thing. I believe this is God’s creation, and we have a moral obligation to be good stewards. But if you don’t share that view, you must share the view that we have an obligation to future generations. So, we’re very excited about what is in there, and it is paid for. It’s paid for… In terms of timing received all…
Speaker 9: (05:51)
[crosstalk 00:05:51] controversial Arizona…
Nancy Pelosi: (05:51)
Well, I’ll talk to you about process right now. It’s paid for by having corporate and individuals pay their fair share. In terms of timing, right now, we’re awaiting the, just a few more, one more committee and a piece of another committee from the Senate for the scrub, in case you’re interested in the timing of this. We expect by this afternoon to have the information we need from the Ways and Means committee. As soon as we get the scrub information, we can proceed with our manager’s amendment to proceed to a vote on the new rule with the manager’s amendment, reflecting the scrubs. Not any policy changes, but just some technicalities about committee jurisdiction, et cetera.
Nancy Pelosi: (06:42)
And then, we will vote on the rule, and then, on the bill. Those votes hopefully will take place later this afternoon. Right now, we are debating the legislation on how it creates good paying jobs, how it cuts taxes for the middle class, how it lowers cost for America’s working families, and how it is all paid for. In that regard, 17 Nobel prize-winning economist said, “This agenda invests in long-term economic capacity and will enhance the ability of more amount Americans to participate productively in the economy and will ease longer-term inflationary pressures.” Moody’s, they have said that the BIF and the BBB do not add to inflation pressures, as the policies lift long-term economic growth via stronger productivity and labor force growth and take the edge off of inflation. That’s Moody’s. We’ll get, again, the final CBO estimates later this afternoon, hopefully, by 5:00.
Nancy Pelosi: (07:56)
As we think of all of this progress, and it’s pretty exciting. This is historic. It is transformative and will help us build back better with women and all those who had not previously had the full advantage, what with this workforce development and the rest in the legislation. But as we celebrate the passage of the bill and prepare for its implementation, still need to be thankful for the progress we’ve made on COVID, but attentive to the sadness that people have suffered in the past 18 months, longer, nearly 20 months, in our country. They’ve suffered loss of their loved ones. They’ve suffered loss of their livelihood, in some case, and we have to be empathetic toward what that is, as we rejoice in the vaccinations and the testing that take us to a better place.
Nancy Pelosi: (08:54)
Combating the virus is our first priority. And that is why we’re grateful that under the Biden administration, averaging nearly 300,000 first shots for people age 12 and older. 300,000 first shots. And 27 million people have received boosters, third shot. Quadrupling the supply of at-home test, launching initiatives to increase vaccine confidence in communities of color, boosting vaccine manufacturing to increase global supply by an extra 1 billion doses each year. And 10 days into our work to vaccinate kids, age five to 11, 10% of kids have been vaccinated.
Nancy Pelosi: (09:41)
Have you seen some of them on TV, being happy to be on TV, being sad to get a shot? Some combination thereof. Science and the Biden administration have taken us closer to the end of the pandemic. And we will not relent until the virus is crushed.
Nancy Pelosi: (10:00)
Yesterday was a very sad day in the Congress of the United States because we had to censure one of our members for promoting violence against another member. What was sad, particularly sad about it is that it was involving violence against a woman. It was a source of humor and bragging by the members of the other side of the aisle. This is just stunning. For me, it was very sad because I have such great respect and love for the institution of the House of Representatives, the place it serves in our Constitution, as the people of House, the constant reintegration of people having to go out and get reelected every two years, every session of Congress. It’s a great place, and great things have happened here. And for us to not uphold the dignity of the House.
Nancy Pelosi: (10:54)
So, that is rule 23, provide a code of official conduct that, I’ll read it so that you know it’s not me, it’s the code, “Shall behave, at all times, in a manner that shall reflect credibly on the House.” Sadly, sadly, what happened yesterday brought shame to the House. And again, gleefully, on the part of the Republican. This is quite different. When they’re endangering lives of members, they set a bad example for other people to endanger lives of people. It’s not just about members of Congress. It’s about the American people and the safety that they should enjoy.
Nancy Pelosi: (11:35)
When I was on the ethics committee, and I was the longest serving person on the ethics committee, I say that as paying my dues to this great institution, we all have that obligation. One of the investigations we had was of, then, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Speaker Newt Gingrich. The punishment was reprimand and a fine of $300,000. The Speaker of the House. The vote was 395… Bipartisan vote, charging the speaker of the house 395 to 28.
Nancy Pelosi: (12:25)
Yesterday, two Republicans would agree that it’s not appropriate to have violence against women, workplace harassment, bad example for the rest of the country, dishonor to the House of Representatives in which you serve. Two versus Democrats and Republicans, 395 versus 28. No Republicans against the Speaker of the House at the time. So, it was most unfortunate, but nonetheless, I want to very proud of our committees right away. As soon as we came back Monday, the rules committee went into action. Jim McGovern, as usual, and the rules committee prepared us to come to the floor. We met with the leadership and members to see what the approach should be.
Nancy Pelosi: (13:18)
And it was overwhelming that we could not let this stand. And we had to go for the maximum penalty that we could achieve. Anything more than that would’ve required two thirds vote of the Congress. And you know that that was not a possibility. In any event, we were very proud of the work of Deutch, the chair of the ethics committee. As I said, Jim McGovern, right away, the motion of center from Jackie Speier, distinguished member of Congress. And also, I thought Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez spoke so beautifully on the floor. Why can’t you admit that this is wrong when someone is talking about violence against another member of Congress or against anyone? Any questions?
Madam. [crosstalk 00:14:10].
Nancy Pelosi: (14:11)
Let me see. [inaudible 00:14:11].
Speaker 2: (14:13)
Madam Speaker, on the second bullet point on your board there, can you respond to the criticism that when all is a said and done on this bill, the people who get the biggest tax cut are millionaires who can take advantage of the changes in the state and local tax deductions?
Nancy Pelosi: (14:27)
Thank you for that question. As a supporter of that particular measure in the bill, I want to just say, and thank you for allowing me to clarify what that is about out. That’s not about tax cuts for wealthy people. It’s about services for the American people. In our communities where we have taken care of our people, education, transportation, healthcare, all of the issues that public service brings to people was slashed by the Trump administration, and we’re just turning that over. So, this isn’t about who gets the tax cut, it’s about which states get the revenue that they need in order to meet the needs of the people. And that is a fight that I will continue to make.
Speaker 2: (15:14)
That is still the result though. That is still the result.
Nancy Pelosi: (15:17)
No, it isn’t. It isn’t the result. That isn’t the result. The fact is is that the dynamism that is injected into our states for the people is what is important here. And we’re not going to have our states with their hands tied behind their back because the former president, in the tax scam that they put out there, giving 83% of the benefits to the top 1% in our country, while penalizing states that were meeting the needs of their people. So, let’s see this in the perspective that it is. The tax scam of Republicans added $2 trillion at least to the national debt, giving 83% of the benefits to the top 1%, penalizing states who were honoring their responsibilities of public service to the people were reversed. Turning that around. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Madam, [crosstalk 00:16:12].
Speaker 4: (16:12)
The Holmes and the Hyde amendment are still not in the reconciliation bill, but weeks ago, Chairman Jeffries said that anything is on the table. Is that still the position of your caucus?
Nancy Pelosi: (16:22)
It’s not in the bill. It’s not in the bill. Thank you for your question. It’s not in the bill.
Speaker 12: (16:23)
Madam Speaker. [crosstalk 00:16:25].
Nancy Pelosi: (16:25)
Yes’m. [inaudible 00:16:25].
Speaker 3: (16:25)
Thank you. Good morning. My question, you talk about the timing here.
Nancy Pelosi: (16:30)
Any women asking question? You go, quickly. Okay.
Speaker 3: (16:35)
Okay, thank you. You talk about the timing here, later tonight, tomorrow, maybe on Saturday-
Nancy Pelosi: (16:40)
I didn’t say, “Saturday.” Did you say, “Saturday?”
Speaker 3: (16:41)
Well, we’ve been to this dance before. We know how this works. That said, when you moved Obamacare, they voted on Christmas Eve day in the Senate on the first version, it took a long time after that, you had the Scott Brown situation. Does it keep you up at night when you have a pre-seat majority right now, a 50-50 Senate, that something could happen in between here?
Nancy Pelosi: (17:01)
Speaker 3: (17:01)
And if the longer this takes, that this could sidetrack this-
Nancy Pelosi: (17:04)
Speaker 3: (17:04)
Nancy Pelosi: (17:04)
Absolutely not. No.
Speaker 3: (17:04)
Nancy Pelosi: (17:05)
No, absolutely not. What keeps me up at night is the fact that in the Congress of the United States, one, we had a really historic infrastructure bill, bigger than any infrastructure we’ve had before, that the Republicans in the House of Representative overwhelmingly voted against jobs, jobs, jobs for their constituents. Not only that, had death threats to their members that did vote for the bill, and then, try to take credit for it. Vote no, take the dough, penalize those who voted for it. That’s what keeps me up at night. Yes, sir?
Speaker 5: (17:44)
Are you at all comfortable with the likelihood that if Republicans take the majority, they may retaliate against Democrats who removed them from their committee for any perceived or even serious offense that may happen?
Nancy Pelosi: (17:57)
Is the inference that I draw from your question that we should have not censured Mr. Gosar for his shameful behavior, for fear of something the Republicans might do in the unlikely case that they might win the Congress? Even if they do, I don’t expect that that’s the case, and I’m doing everything in my power to make sure it isn’t. Not just because of Gosar, but because of our democracy, which they are undermining every single day. And you see their behavior on the floor says they shouldn’t have a gavel be anywhere near them ever. But no, we would not walk away from our responsibilities for fear of something they may do in the future.
Speaker 5: (18:39)
So, why limit to censure? Why [crosstalk 00:18:40]?
Speaker 6: (18:39)
Senator McConnell has said on several occasions that he is relying-
Nancy Pelosi: (18:50)
Speaker 6: (18:50)
Nancy Pelosi: (18:50)
Okay. Thank you.
Speaker 6: (18:50)
That he’s relying on Senator Manchin and Sinema to add amendments once this bill enters the Senate chamber. Are you at all concerned about what that might do to the timeline of the overall passage of this plan?
Nancy Pelosi: (18:58)
No. No. No, I’m not.
Speaker 6: (19:00)
Are you privy to what those amendments might be or concerned about changes to the bill and what [crosstalk 00:19:05]?
Nancy Pelosi: (19:04)
No. No. No. I’m not. I’m not. I feel this legislation is so historic. It is so transformative. It is so different in terms of so many things that we have all agreed on. Free universal pre-K, childcare, we’re lowering the cost, where no middle class income family will pay more than 70% of their income. Issues that relate to expanding Affordable Care Act to contain those who were cut out by certain states. Home healthcare so that families can be assured of going to work, knowing that their family member is cared for. Issues that relate to negotiating for lower drug prices and preventing pharma from raising prices above inflation.
Nancy Pelosi: (20:02)
Many of these things are so substantial. Now, should the Republicans offer some votes in their vote-a-rama, I feel that we’re probably in pretty good shape where we are. And I didn’t even go into saving the planet and meeting the president’s goals. So, no, I think that whatever happens in the Senate, and their rules are different. Just so you know, what happens is this bill will go over to the Senate. Then, it gets realigned according to their Senate committees, which are different from our Senate committees. They’re just different. We just have different alignments of committees that get realigned like that. And then, the Senate will act its will on it. But whatever it is, it will still be transformative and historic, and I don’t fear that.
Nancy Pelosi: (20:54)
Speaker 7: (20:54)
Madam Speaker? Thank you, madam. Can you talk a little bit? The polling has shown that the president is in a bit of a slump. The democratic party has had some challenges in its own polling. Why do you think that is? And as you look forward to taking this on the road and talking to people about it, how hard is it going to be to get Americans to understand all of what you’re trying to lay out here?
Nancy Pelosi: (21:19)
Well, I agree with you. There is a great deal in the legislation. But we divided into saving the planet, care can’t wait. And again, the health piece is in there, which is related to the care piece. The members have committed to 1,000 town meeting events one way or another. When we saved the Affordable Care Act from the tentacles of the Trump administration, we had 10,000 events around the country of people telling their stories. And people telling their story, and that was over a period of time. But people telling their stories, that’s the most eloquent message of all. People telling what it means to have home healthcare so that they can work, to be assured that their children are learning when they are earning, to have some assurance about what it means to have healthcare so that someone in your family takes ill.
Nancy Pelosi: (22:18)
All of those things are, again, personal stories. And then, from a policy standpoint, again, saving the planet is a responsibility that we have based on science and morality. It isn’t a set of values that seems to be shared on the other side of the aisle, their hand in the pocket of fossil fuel industry. We’re looking to the future. So, I think that these messages will, again, not just from our members, but from others. I’m an organizer. That’s how I came to [inaudible 00:22:57], an organizer, and chair of the California democratic party, which I thought was the pinnacle of all success, the biggest democratic party in the country. But so, we are big believers in mobilization. The inside, what we do inside can only get us so far, the inside maneuvering. The outside mobilization is really the glory of it all and makes the policy so much better.
Nancy Pelosi: (23:24)
And again, those are the messages of eloquence about what all of this means in their lives. What it means for kids if we have green initiatives that stop the spread of asthma, and have clean air, and end pollution. The president’s initiative to reduce pollution by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. What that means in people’s children’s lives, especially in some underserved communities, what it means to have workplace training so that people can be part of the new green technologies as we go in into the future. It’s pretty exciting. And again, it is a lot. I’ll grant you that. And people say, “Well, it’s too much.” But if you’re just thinking of the wellbeing of America’s working families, that will create good paying jobs, cut taxes for them, lower costs for them, and again, not increase the national debt. Yes, ma’am?
Speaker 8: (24:24)
Can I follow-up on that question? When you are touting the ACA right before it passed, there were-
Nancy Pelosi: (24:29)
I’m sorry, I just can’t hear you.
Speaker 8: (24:31)
When you were touting the ACA, before it passed, there were popular provisions of that that took years for the public to appreciate things like preexisting conditions.
Nancy Pelosi: (24:38)
Oh, the ACA you’re talking about?
Speaker 8: (24:39)
Yes. What makes you think that this effort is any different? Because as you just said, a lot of these things to years to go into effect.
Nancy Pelosi: (24:47)
I think it’s different. No. Well, I think it’s different in this respect, with all due respect to everybody else around. Okay? Joe Biden, Joe Biden is very committed to messaging this. As you see, he’s already on the road, been to Baltimore, Maryland, New Hampshire, Michigan, just in the last few days since the bill, the BIF bill was signed, and now, to build that better. So, I think there’s no substitute for the bully pulpit of the president of the United States, especially when reinforced by the events that we will have throughout the country, as well as the mobilization of the grassroots of people who know what this means in their lives. So, I think that the, shall we say, the messaging on it will be immediate, and it will be intense, and it will be eloquent, and it will make the difference. And I’ll see you later this afternoon on the floor of the House, as we further advance our build back better initiative for the people, with the women. Thank you all very much. And if I don’t see you, have a happy, happy Thanksgiving. Thank you.
Speaker 13: (25:56)
Ma’am, you expect the CBOs for us today?
Speaker 14: (25:58)
Nancy Pelosi: (25:58)