Oct 28, 2021
Nancy Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Transcript October 28
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference on October 28, 2021. She discussed Biden’s announcement on the framework for the social & climate spending bill. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Speaker Pelosi: (00:00)
… that the president of the United States, a president with a big vision for America, and he came to speak to us about how he saw things now. Presenting a framework about building back better with women. I’ve said over and over again, the provisions in the bill are about children learning, parents earning. And that means with universal pre-K and childcare, with home healthcare, with childcare tax credit and all the rest, that it is a liberation for women to be able to pursue their careers, help take care of their families while their children and their family members are cared for. So in any event, what we talked about, that was the fact that if any one of these features were in a bill that we were taking up in the Congress, if we were taking up the childcare pieces of this and the home healthcare pieces of it, it would be historic. Big, nearly a trillion dollars. Children learning, parents earning, caring for our loved ones at home and respecting those who do so.
Speaker Pelosi: (01:11)
Second piece on the healthcare, this one is particularly meaningful to me because of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act has been expanded, of course, to make it stronger, but also to include the people who were not covered in the states that did not expand Medicaid. We don’t expand Medicaid, we expand the Affordable Care Act to enable those families, to have access to the affordable care. If that were the only thing we were doing in this legislation, it would be transformative and cause for celebration. So on the health side, there many aspects to it, but that one makes a drastic difference. And then when we go to the third bucket, climate, well, as one who as… When I was speaker first time, the climate issue, well, for a long time has been my flagship issue. But at that time I formed a select committee on climate and we get good things with President Bush in terms of an energy bill, but not a climate bill.
Speaker Pelosi: (02:22)
We couldn’t get 60 votes in the Senate. That was when President Obama was president. And then we moved on to the… At the same time, we’re doing the health issue. But it was then so important, now drastic and urgent, short fuse on the wellbeing of our planet. And so in this bill, I mean, imagine a half a trillion dollars in this framework that the president discussed. A half a trillion dollars, both in tax credits and outlays of what we need to do to protect the planet for the children. All three of these; health, planet, childcare, et cetera, all about the children. They’re also about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. How people access them, jobs that are created by the new green technologies, jobs that are part of the national security of our country that is necessitated by our protection of the environment. And so it is an initiative that gives big tax cut to the middle class, creates jobs, good paying jobs, lowers cost for families, and while making the wealthiest and big corporations pay their fair share.
Speaker Pelosi: (03:36)
That’s really the framework that the president shared with us this morning and it’s remarkable. It’s remarkable in that it’s a big vision, bigger vision that we’ve seen in a very long time, maybe dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt in the new deal. In some respects to Lyndon Johnson who had a great agenda as well. But I remind, we always remind everyone that Franklin Roosevelt had 319 Democrats in the Congress at the time, and we have 220, and that makes a big difference. So again, the transformative agenda, the president was knowledgeable. I mean, he knows chapter [inaudible 00:04:20] because he wrote this, he campaigned on this. He spoke to this in his state of the union address. I told him last night, on phone last night, but today in front of our colleagues, that when he gave that state of the union address, we were sitting behind him, the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, and the speaker of the House, me. And people said, “How did it feel? How did it feel? The two women.”
Speaker Pelosi: (04:53)
I said, “Well, that was exciting and historic.” What was really exciting is the speech the president made about women, not about two women, but America’s women, and what would happen with this progressive agenda that he was putting forth. At the same time, we’re moving forward with BIF, a once in a century chance to rebuild the infrastructure that past the Senate a while back. The BIF has good things and it has missing things. And of course, the fact that we have the reconciliation… Let me not call it that anymore, let’s call it the Build Back Better legislation is essential because that’s where we have the major investment in climate. Although there is some in the BIF. Roads, bridges, water systems, crumbling. Some water systems are over 100 years made of, and our colleagues talked about their own experiences in their own communities, some made of bricks and wood. That’s a nice water system, right? Electric grid is vulnerable to catastrophic outages, which you have seen and decades of underinvestment have taken a devastating toll on the safety of our infrastructure.
Speaker Pelosi: (06:08)
There’s absolutely no question the most expensive maintenance is no maintenance and that’s where we are in many cases. And it’s about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Over the life of this bill, there would be seven and a half million jobs just in the BIF. If you take it with the other bill, it’d be more like 20 million jobs over the 10 year period, just with these two bills, not talking about what else happens in the economy. So it’s pretty exciting. So where we are in time, that’s what you want to know, right? At three o’clock, [inaudible 00:06:50] at 2:30, right now the rules committee is preparing to go in. They have text, the text is up. People have said, “I want to see text.” The text is up. The text is up for review, for consideration, for review. People will then say, well, this should be this way or clarification or addition, subtraction, whatever it is. This is the legislative process. And right now, though, today, we will be having a hearing. They’ll hear from our chairman about the greatness of the Build Back Better initiative.
Speaker Pelosi: (07:25)
And it’s pretty exciting. I’m so proud of the work that our chairs have done and the work that everybody did to try to cut it in half and in a way that we could maintain support for it. Because there’s competition for the dollar even at 3.5 trillion. When you cut it in half, it becomes, shall we say, keener. So that’s what’s happening now. So we had said for a long time now, if we had a framework that had our priorities spelled out clearly and agreed to, that added up to a top line, start with the priorities and then added up to a top line, which was the limit, priorities I mentioned, the top line 1.75, approximately, and the commitment that we would have the same bill pass the House and the Senate. That’s what we have now. That’s what the president presented. And we won’t have anything, regardless of whatever input we have in the bill, unless it is agreed to by the Senate.
Speaker Pelosi: (08:41)
And of course we have to have it comply with the Senate 51 vote rule or the Byrd rule. And there are two things, the Byrd rule and the privileged scrub. Is that more on the subject than you ever want to know? But anyway, that’s what we have to do. And we hope to do that soon. But we, again, have to listen as the printed version goes out. There’s some clarifications that will come forth because it’s always moving a bit and that will happen in the manager’s amendment. So we’re on a path to get this done. But for those who said, I want to see text, the text is there for you to review, for you to complain about, for you to add to, to subtract from, whatever it is. And we’ll see what consensus emerges from that. But we are really very much on a path. So that’s where we are. We have the BIF, we have the hearing today, we have the text out there, we’re on a path to get this all done.
Speaker 2: (09:47)
Thank you, madam speaker. We’ve been hearing from a lot of progressives who say they would still not vote for this package. So is it premature to move forward with a vote on the bipartisan package today? And do you trust that senators Manchin and Sinema will vote based off of what is outlined in this framework?
Speaker Pelosi: (10:04)
Well, I trust the president of the United States. And again, the text is out there. If they have some… Anybody, any Senator, any House member have some suggestions about where their comfort level is or their dismay might be, then we welcome that. But I trust the president of the United States. We have… All the things I name, we have agreement on most of those things. Now, when people see the language, they may say, well, this goes further than I thought. I don’t know. We’ll see what they see a back. But we are within range on those things. There’s some things that are not in. I frankly have not given up on. But being a mother of five in six years, I always bring that up. Changed more diapers than anybody in the Congress. I still would like to see paid leave for the babies if we can’t get the rest. But that’s still a work in progress, shall we say. Yes.
Speaker 3: (11:03)
Thank you. Good afternoon. We do hear from some of your members like Cori Bush, from Missouri who says that she felt that she was, her word, “bamboozled” by what she was expecting today? And Pramila Jayapal, the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, saying that she has the votes to keep the infrastructure bill from passing. What’s your response when you hear that sort of dissension in your caucus about where you stand, when you present a very positive picture of where you are?
Speaker Pelosi: (11:28)
Well, I have respect for all of our members on, and the full spectrum of the big tent that is our Democratic Party. And they have concerns when they hear Senator Manchin say something. Others have concerns when they hear [inaudible 00:11:42] something. Everybody has the chance to say what they wish. Yes, sir.
Speaker 4: (11:46)
So one of the things that progressives want is to have a vote on the Build Back Better bill at the same time as the infrastructure bill-
Speaker Pelosi: (11:55)
That’s right. That what they say.
Speaker 4: (11:58)
Why not just wait, delay for a few days, a week or whatever, in order to move these bills at the same time? Why are you insisting on having this infrastructure-
Speaker Pelosi: (12:04)
Well, we have had a target for this for a long time. You have to remember that we planned for $3.5 trillion. We were totally ready. And I say this, because I feel some level of responsibility for working everybody so hard to be on time for September 15th. And then the rug was pulled out when they said we’re not going that high. And then we had to take it down. But in the meantime, the clock did not stop ticking on the calendar. Did I mix my metaphors there or my timeframes? So when we see that October 31st is the date of expiration of the Highway Trust Fund and we made the target date for us to get this done. We need certainty. Let me just read this to you from our colleague.
Speaker Pelosi: (12:56)
Today… If the House does not pass the bill by October 31st, this is from Peter DeFazio, surface transportation programs once again must be extended. Without an authorization in place the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Transit Administration will have to cease affected operations. As a result that would force furlough of approximately 3,700 employees at the US Department of Transportation. Short-term extensions are highly disruptive of transportation, project planning and delivery carried out by the states and the states departments of transportation transit and all. That goes on and on. So this is professional. Let’s do it in a timely fashion. Let’s not just keep having postponements and leaving any doubt as to when this will happen.
Speaker 5: (13:58)
Madam speaker, you have called this as has the president, transformational-
Speaker Pelosi: (14:03)
Excuse me. I’m sorry.
Speaker 5: (14:05)
I said you and the president have called this legislation transformational, the Build Back Better Act. But how is this transformational if you’re having to cut things like paid leave, if you’re having-
Speaker Pelosi: (14:15)
If you have to do what?
Speaker 5: (14:16)
I said how is this transformational if you’re having to cut things like paid leave, these major climate programs and what are the plans going forward to try to deal with some of-
Speaker Pelosi: (14:25)
Well, thank you so much for your question. It is transformative and it is historic and it’s… The issues that it addresses and it’s not issues, these are values. These are values. And the resources that are allocated there. I’m still fighting for paid leave. I frankly have a hard time debating it because I don’t understand why we wouldn’t have that. But nonetheless, that’s not undermined the fact that we had nearly a trillion dollars in universal pre-K childcare, child tax credit, home healthcare, and the rest. So one program as important as it is, does not subtract from the rest of it. Again, we still want that. We have it. We passed it in a former Department of Defense bill, which has paid family, not family, just family leave, not medical. Family leave for federal Department of Defense employees and the civilian work force associated with that.
Speaker Pelosi: (15:32)
So we’ve already have gone down that path very nicely. In fact, Senator Manchin said some very good things when he voted for that bill, which had that in there. But how can I say that this is transformative? Because it is, because it is. Because children in 12 states, families in 12 states will now have access to the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people added to that. That’s very important because we’ll have a half a trillion dollars to save the planet and that’s a jobs issue. Well, it’s a health issue, first of all. Clean air, clean water, addressing the asthma issues and all the rest and the environmental injustice of it all. It’s a health issue, it’s a jobs issue. New green technologies have America be preeminent in the world. And those technologies, it’s a national security issue.
Speaker Pelosi: (16:28)
As our security experts tell us, the conflict that could arise from competition for habitat and resources because of rising sea levels and all of the other consequences of the climate crisis. And it is a values issue for us to honor our responsibility to future generations. Lets pass this planet on in a responsible way. And the fuse is growing shorter on the timeframe for us to do that. Matters are getting worse and we are not going to make matters worse. We’re going to pass this legislation. And as I say that, what this legislation will do is to help the president meet his goals, the goals of America, for how we reduce emissions pollution and the rest. And not only how we do that, meet and beat the goals of the Paris Accord, but also how we help other countries do so. The poorest nations in the world have contributed the least to the emissions challenge that we face, and we need to share technology and other resources with them so that a can meet their goals as well.
Speaker Pelosi: (17:36)
So then the third part of it I talked about the care piece of it, the healthcare piece of it, in this. This is quite remarkable. And if you took any one piece of it, it would be transformative and historic. Taking together, it’s quite a spectacular vision that president Biden has put forth. I salute him for it. And when I tried to, shall we say, make a case for this or that, because you don’t have to tell me, I wrote it. I know the particulars. And that was what was so demonstrated this morning, his meticulous attention to detail, his encyclopedic knowledge of everything that was in the bill. We’re really blessed with his leadership. And when he goes to these meetings with the G20 now and then to meet his holiness, the Pope, and to go to Glasgow, we want him to go as strong possible.
Speaker Pelosi: (18:30)
And when I had my meeting with his holiness, the Pope, I brought the president’s greetings, of course I brought the greetings of the Congress of the United States. And the climate was a very big, important issue for his holiness as I know it will be part… I assume it would be part of their discussion. But the climate issue is not just about, as I say, health in that, it’s about people in poverty taking a terrible bite of this warming apple called the climate crisis. So it’s a big values issue for us. Anytime you want to ask me why I think this is transformative, I’m happy to answer that question. [crosstalk 00:19:07]
Speaker 6: (19:08)
Madam Speaker, the White House framework includes $100 billion investment that they say is separate for immigration. Is that separate within the Build Back Better Act or is it separate from the Build Back Better Act?
Speaker Pelosi: (19:20)
It’s over and above the 1.75. Thank you all [inaudible 00:19:26]
Speaker 7: (19:25)
Madam speaker, a simple question. Are you holding an infrastructure vote today? Have you made that decision? So are you holding an infrastructure vote today? Are you holding an infrastructure-
Speaker Pelosi: (19:42)
Just getting my mask.
Speaker 7: (19:45)
Are you holding [crosstalk 00:19:46]. Will there be an infrastructure vote today?