Nov 4, 2021
Nancy Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Transcript November 4
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference on November 4, 2021. She discussed Biden’s trip abroad, the reconciliation bill, and the infrastructure agenda. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
… With others out there really part of our caucus where we heard from our magnificent chairman, had a Q&A with our members, with each chair about the specifics in the legislation as amended from what they have seen since the last week. It was very inspiring and heartening to see the depth of knowledge, the value based decisions that were made in the committees and just the ongoing commitment to getting the job done for the people. I want to say that I’m so proud of the president. I’ll come back to some of that.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (00:40)
But president returning from representing America to show that America is back, whether it comes to fighting the pandemic of COVID, whether it’s saving the planet from the climate crisis, whether it’s enormous success that he had with the global minimum tax, a major, major accomplishment, making progress in how we deal with keeping Iran from becoming nuclear and also issues that related to, again, global security, security, security economy, and governance. He also had a beautiful visit with his holiness, the Pope, [inaudible 00:01:22].
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (01:22)
You know his schedule, but you don’t know the pride we take in all of it. I was particularly inspired by his visit with his holiness, the Pope fresh off of my own visit. I’ve heard some of you cavalierly say on TV, “Why don’t this Congress go there?” Well, I did. I did when I was in Rome for the G20 of parliamentarians, which preceded the G20 of the leaders of the countries. And it’s just to see his Holiness’ commitment to the people of the world, whether we’re talking about a pandemic or whether talking about a planet, just so inspiring.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (02:03)
So to see the two of them, the president of the United States, a devout Catholic and his holiness the Pope, glorious leader, but also knowledgeable about saving the planet, respectful of the refugees that could spring from migrations and from other conflicts. So again, proud of the president and also for him to come home at a time, he was only gone a few days, but in that time, the system was established for children, little children, to be able to get the vaccination to keep them safe, to keep their families safe, because we know how things spread in school.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (02:46)
And to see the beautiful pictures of the children, some of them near tears getting a shot, others very proud of the fact that they’re going to be on TV or whatever. So COVID, COVID, COVID, it begins and ends everything we do. And now that it’s about 750,000 people who have died from COVID in the United States, five million in the world. So sad. Sadly this morning, some of our members are saying goodbye to Congressman Dale Kildee of Michigan. Dale Kildee was a very respected member of the House of Representatives for a very long time and he had a noble spirit of public service. He too was in the church.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (03:29)
I don’t know if he was actually ordained, but in the studying for the priesthood and he brought those values to of the Congress with a definite separation of church and state. So our prayers are with his nephew, Dan, who serves with us now and to his wife, Gail and the rest of the family. Goodbye to Dale Kildee. Hello to a new member of Congresswoman elect Shontel Brown, elected in Ohio. I think it was a like 80-20 in the election. She’s a proud daughter of Cleveland, a strong advocate for working families and a courageous voice for civil rights. She’s here to build back better and I’m happy to swear her in later today.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (04:15)
Okay. So Build Back Better, that’s why you’re here. Right? We, as I said, just completing a meeting of the House Democrats. Again, I wish everyone could see the pride we take in the work that has been done by the members, by the chairman, by the staff, relentless. And not only our own staff and committee staff, but the Congressional Budget Office, the Ledge Counsel Office and the rest. This morning, we have a report from joint tax, which is documenting how the bill and validating how the legislation is paid for.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (04:55)
It came out about 10:00. I referred to you for your review. It’s very solid. Because people say, well, is it really paid for? People say it isn’t paid for. Other people who say a lot of things, but this document of joint tax is objective. That’s not Democratic. It’s not Republican. It’s objective view that it is solidly paid for. And that doesn’t even take into account the money that we’ll get from what we’re very proud of as an agreement on prescription drugs, which generates resources as well as enforcement, which is several hundred, $400 billion in enforcement.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (05:36)
So here we are with all of this. The prescription drug bill is something that is news fronts last week. It enables us to do something we’ve been trying to do for a very long time, have the secretary of HHS negotiate for lower drug prices, halts pharma’s outrageous prices hikes above inflation and expands ACA to make coverage more affordable for those who buy insurance on their own. So it’s not just about Medicare prices. It’s about the private sector, the commercial sector as well. We’re very excited about what happens in the legislation.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (06:16)
Took pride in hearing various committees address how children are affected by the Biden child tax credit, universal pre-K and three and four-year-olds, families childcare costs. Again, this is an area where we have consensus House and Senate have for a long time. Nothing very new in that care section, except the fact that we would like to put on the table the family and medical leave. It’s so needed and so popular in our country and make such a difference in the lives of America’s families. Very important to women, but men too, to have that opportunity.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (07:01)
It is again, better jobs, lower cost reduces the debt and makes the wealthy and those pay their fair share. It’s not punitive. It’s just fair. Particularly appropriate at this time is what it does for the climate crisis. Again, I’m sure you read the bill last week and I’m sure you’re well aware of some amendments to it this week. But I just want to remind you, the largest investment to combat the climate crisis in history, cuts pollution and we reduces energy costs and creates good paying jobs. It’s a health issue, clean air, clean water for our children.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (07:46)
It’s a jobs issue, being competitive and preeminent in the world in terms of new green technologies and technology is really what is helping us to advance in making these jobs better and us more competitive. And third, it’s a national security issue as national security experts tell us the competition for resources and habitat resulting from drought and salmon and drying up of rivers and rising sea levels and encroachment of deserts and the rest. The migration that that can create creates conflict and therefore a national security issue, but as always a values issue for us to pass on this planet to future generations in the best possible way.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (08:32)
And young people have taken the lead on this. So it’s very exciting. So on the Build Back Better, one of the other issues we were dealing with since last week is the immigration issue where I think we’re finding common ground and what is in the bill has good resonance. Others want more. So do I. I want it all, but you don’t get it all. And we would be open to it. What we’re having in the legislation, which I’m sure you’re very well versed in, is the work permit and protection. And we would like to have registry in there because we think it is the easiest, most efficient, fair way to deal with people who are here so that they can work and their families can feel safe and that they will not be exploited.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (09:22)
But it just doesn’t seem to have a big prospect in the Senate. So we don’t want to ask members to vote for something that wouldn’t have a good prospect on the Senate that is controversial. If the Senate, though, and I urge them to put it forth, it would involve overruling the chair, excuse me, the parliamentarian, perhaps, not getting bogged down in their rules. It’s up to them. But if they’re calling, if they want to do that, we want to do that. But it has to start with them because the parliamentarian has already put forth the message that this would be either divertable or privilege and we can’t have that.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (10:07)
So what else? I guess, time to take your questions. Okay.
Speaker 2: (10:17)
What effect do you think having not passed these bills had on Tuesday’s election results?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (10:23)
Well, let me say it in a different way. I think that getting the job done producing results for the American people is always very positive. Each election is different. As you know, I was former party chair and I always know, let’s look down into the numbers and see what it is. But I do think as the American people learn more about what we are doing in this legislation, for families, for children, for women in the workforce, to save our planet and the rest, it will be very positive. You can’t deny that it would be very positive.
Speaker 2: (10:57)
Do you think Democrats were penalized for having not gotten these things done?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (11:01)
Again, I haven’t seen all of the analysis. And I know from my own experience that as I’ve said to you before, the plural of anecdote is not data. Let’s see what the data is as it comes out. But there’s no question. The more results we can produce in a way that is people understand in their lives, the better it is. I’m heartbroken because Terry McAuliffe is a great leader in our country and was a great governor of Virginia. I’d hope that he was a once and future governor. But also we were all interested in down ballot races as well.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (11:39)
So I haven’t seen much of that. New Jersey, nice victory. I spoke to the governor this morning to congratulate him. And again, we’ll be working together to build back better. But without saying what impact it had, it’s always a positive message to have results that are understood by the public. Yeah.
Speaker 3: (12:01)
Could you just project this week a little bit what you expect? Do you expect to vote tonight? And is it possible that you might just vote on the infrastructure bill considering everybody seems to be bought in and saying it’s ready for a vote?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (12:17)
Speaker 3: (12:17)
Okay. Do you anticipate vote on Build Back Better today and what are the big hurdles you have to overcome?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (12:24)
I’ll let you know as soon as I wish to. You’re just worried about your own schedule. I know. I know that. But the fact is, is that our members are engaged in very thoughtful deliberation with each other. As I said to you before, 90% of this bill has been agreed to, House, Senate, White House and written. We made some changes since last week. People need to familiarize themselves with it. That was the purpose of our meeting this morning. As I said, it made me very proud and was inspired by just once again, hearing the depth of knowledge and breadth of vision of our colleagues.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (13:03)
And we’ll let you know, but I think many of you know, I was really very unhappy about not passing the biff last week. I really was very unhappy because we had an October 31st deadline. And I thought that that was eloquent, but not enough, I guess. So now we’re going to pass both bills. But in order to do so, we have to have votes for both bills, and that’s where we are.
Speaker 4: (13:32)
Madam Speaker, you just mentioned that you don’t want members to vote on something that may not have a good prospect when it goes over to the Senate. When it comes down to paid family leave, which is now included in this bill, Senator Joe Manchin believes that it shouldn’t be in this bill. Do you believe that the president can convince him otherwise? And what’s your message to Senator Manchin on why it deserves to be in this bill?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (13:53)
Well, I don’t make it a habit of talking to Senator Manchin on the TV. We’re friends. I respect him. He’s a good person. He’s agreed to so much that it’s in the bill, universal pre-K and childcare, agreed to the Affordable Care Act expanded to embrace those who were left out of the Medicaid, especially our seniors who depend on that for long term care. He’s been supportive of the child tax credit. There’s so many things, home healthcare and the rest, some of the stuff in green. We’re not finished with that yet, but we’ve had some areas of agreement there.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (14:30)
But the fact is there’s one difference between some of these issues, like hearing. It’s not for hearing in the bill. Hearing has a very broad universal support in our caucus. In terms of family medical leave, that has big, it’s no sacrifice for anybody to vote for something that might not see the light of day. And these, we hope will see the light of day. We can afford it, it’s universal, it’s a compromise, four weeks. I’d rather have it longer. I want it six weeks, because that’s some little babies can finally be able to go to childcare. But nonetheless, four weeks.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (15:16)
So my message to not Joe Manchin, I mean, we talk enough. He knows what my message is. But with all the respect in the world for the point of view he represents, I disagree. I think that this is appropriate for this legislation. It fits very comfortably with childcare, healthcare, home care, family and medical lead. And it has the full support of our caucus. There are other issues that, for example, registry, which may or may not. People will be willing to vote for it if there’s a real prospect for success in the Senate.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (15:53)
And we’ll have to see what that is. So, we have reserved the right to make distinctions among them.
Speaker 4: (16:00)
Respond to some moderate who have said maybe they need more time to review this legislation.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (16:07)
This has been up for … First of all, this is the bill. Basically we had three and a half trillion dollars and then we had to cut it in half. So, that was drastic and that’s what was posted last week. Now we ask for public comment and we have public comment. You act upon the comment and that is [inaudible 00:16:25]. This would ordinarily be a situation more in the subject you ever want to know and reject it as soon as these bills are passed, because it will not be useful in your life for the future. On reconciliation, you really can’t do an expansive manager’s amendment.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (16:42)
Normally regularly, we put the bill out last week, there are changes, managers amendment, pass it on. Reconciliation, you have to have it in raced in the totality of another amendment, but it’s really that it contains it all so that it adds up because that’s what reconciliation is about. And so when people are saying, “Well, this is a whole new bill,” no it isn’t. But if you imagined it as a manager’s amendment, it might be easier to grasp because you’re just seeing the differences and that’s what members presented today.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (17:20)
So again, no manager’s amendment was reconciliation. That is substantive. Therefore, you have to cloak it or couch it in a similar. This is called amendment. Last week, it was called an amendment as well. An amendment in the nature of a substitute. Is that going to serve you well in your life?
Speaker 5: (17:39)
Are you concerned that the parliamentarian’s past as an immigration prosecutor inhibitor hers ability to produce an impartial judgment on immigrant relief proposals?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (17:51)
I mean, the judgment about the parliamentarian is one for the Senate, for the Senate. I just don’t agree with the original that the policy outweighed the budgetary aspects of the bill, but she’s the parliamentarian. You have to talk to the Senate about judgements about their people. Yes, sir?
Speaker 6: (18:18)
Your leadership took a whip count. The deadline was about a half hour ago.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (18:19)
Speaker 6: (18:19)
Your leadership took a whip count of your members on the Build Back Better Act. The deadline for that was about a half hour ago. Are there Democrats still saying that they’re not going to vote for this? Do you have the votes to pass this by the end of the week?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (18:30)
Well, you were my priority. I came right from the caucus to this meeting. So, I’m not familiar with what that is. But again, we have questions that members have, whether it’s about is it really paid for? That was one of the questions. Yesterday, we had a session where it listened to them and they want to know is it really paid for and how. We had this morning, Richie Neal and Brian Deese from the White House talk about how it was and with the idea. That was early. At 10:00, the Joint Tax Committee would be released. Have you seen it?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (19:07)
You’ve seen it. Okay. So, that was one piece. The piece was about inflation and we had the expert’s opinions and in fact, very recent today from Moody’s, that since it is paid for, it would not increase inflation. And in fact, it would add to our economy because of childcare enabling many more women to fully participate in it. So, I haven’t seen it. I don’t know. I was going to say, did you see the whip count? Because I’ll tell you something about Mr. Clyburn, he keeps up close to the vest. Even a speaker, I say that. Mr. Clyburn, how are we doing?
Speaker 7: (19:51)
A number of the Virginia Democrats were very critical of the decision not to put the infrastructure bill on the floor before the election and they say that contributed to Terry McAuliffe’s loss. Do you believe the House Democrats in any way were partially responsible for what happened on Tuesday?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (20:08)
Was that a question you asked?
Speaker 2: (20:10)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (20:12)
What I said was any sign of progress is always good for the public when they understand what it is, and I think they understand infrastructure pretty well. So it would’ve been better if we had. I don’t know because I haven’t seen the data, perhaps you have. I think there were other issues at work in that election and it remains not for me to make an observation unsubstantiated by data and science and fact. I’m very scientific about elections, district by district, within the district, region by region. And we’ll see what that is, but it was not a good night.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (20:51)
So let’s not go away from that.
Speaker 7: (20:53)
Why not put the bill on the floor right now?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (20:53)
But you have to ask … If that’s what they said, that’s your story. I’m not going to comment on their story.
Speaker 8: (21:01)
So we have this …
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (21:02)
Any more women here?
Speaker 8: (21:03)
So we have this number from the joint committee on tax.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (21:06)
Speaker 8: (21:06)
Obviously, you have these Blue Dog moderate Democrats who are holding out, wanting a CBO score. There are differences between those and they had indicated to me that those two things are not quite the same, is that enough to bring them across the line or what has to happen to get it?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (21:22)
Those two things are not quite the same.
Speaker 8: (21:29)
A CBO score and a JCT score. And therefore, is that going to be enough to get them to vote later tonight, tomorrow on that or is it done?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (21:31)
Let me say that we have been all along, this is not sequential. Like when we get to this point, we’ll send this here. All along, we’ve been sending things to CBO. This is not new to them. And same thing with joint tax and they’ve come now with our bill, come out and say how much money it will absolutely produce. And that doesn’t include over and above the prescription drug money, which is hundreds of billions dollars as well as $400 billion from the enforcement. And by the way, considered to be a low figure. Former IRS directors have written and said it could be close to a trillion dollars.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (22:17)
But we’re counting it low. We have been very conservative in every estimate that we make so that it truly is formidably paid for. The thing about the CBO is they have most of the information. Now they have the new information, but they have to correlate it. They have to say if you say, well, we had 3.5, now we have 1.7, cut it in half or whatever the number is, cut it in half, it doesn’t work. They have to relate it what the impact is from one area to the next. Takes a little longer, more subjectivity, but this shouldn’t take long to get.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (23:06)
The other thing that we’re getting are we’re sending stuff over to the Senate. Well, most of the product that we’ve done is, except now we may have added in the last day or so. And some of what we added is Senate to the bill, like a hearing. Bernie doesn’t like hearing, excuse me, Bernie loves hearing. Manchin doesn’t want hearing and the bill and all that stuff. So some is Senate oriented and then we had the family medical leave. We figured if they’re putting things in, then we can put something in, even if Manchin doesn’t like it.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (23:44)
So, we are getting some bird and privilege. I think mostly we’re getting privilege scrub. Because privilege scrub is deadliest to a bill. Birdable, it’s important. It’s you have to take it out. But privilege violation can take you out. So, we’re again getting that as we go along as well. But when we pass a bill, then they will see it in its aggregate and make some …
Speaker 8: (24:16)
Any concern that any of this is “messaging” because that they have to take some of those things out regardless, no matter what you send over? You said you weren’t going to send a messaging bill.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (24:26)
No. No. We’re going to send messaging bill, but we want to be sure that what we send is not birdable or bird bath or privileged scrub. They’re the two exercises we’re engaged. Bathing exercises were engaged in and we’re getting good response. There’s no bad answer. It is what it is. There’s certain objectivity to it. It is what it is. Because whatever it is, this is the greatest monumental historic piece of legislation that any of us will ever be a part of it. And I say that with great proprietary ownership of the Affordable Care Act, which was magnificent and is.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (25:16)
But this contains that and so much strengthening that and so much more. So if this is an inner, that isn’t that because it’s reconciliation. We can save some of that for another day when it’s regular order. But most of what is in there will survive and it will be great and help the American people. It will lower the cost of raising children in our country. Think of that. The overarching part of it, it’s about the children. It’s about their parents. If you’re talking climate, you’re talking jobs and children. If you’re talking the health piece of it, you’re talking jobs and you’re talking children and their families.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (26:03)
If you’re talking care can’t wait, which is the third bucket, you’re talking children and their families and jobs and how we respect people who do those jobs, home care and how we enable women and dads to participate in the workforce in a more meaningful way. I hope you have a very nice day. We’ll keep you informed.
Speaker 8: (26:25)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (26:25)
Stay tuned. Thank you.
Speaker 8: (26:26)
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Speaker 4: (26:27)
Thank you, Madam Speaker.