Jun 16, 2022

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly Press Conference 6/16/22 Transcript

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly Press Conference 6/16/22 Transcript
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly Press Conference on 6/16/22. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1: (00:00)
We’ll talk about that later.

Nancy Pelosi: (00:04)
Good morning, everyone. We come together at a time of so much activity here. Within the hour or so, my understanding is that the Senate will be taking up the vote on the PACT Act, which honors our pact, our promise to our veterans on the Burn Pits legislation that is being passed. We’re very excited about that.

Nancy Pelosi: (00:27)
But this week generally has been about affordability. Affordability at the kitchen table. Affordability at the pump. Affordability for America’s working families. I’m very proud that as we gather here right now on the floor, we have legislation that will lower food and lower… Well, we have it, Lower Food and Fuel Cost Act. The way we will do that is you lower food costs. You believe that Russia is one of the big suppliers of fertilizer in the world. The lower supply of fertilizer, the increased price and demand for it has increased food costs, so we are addressing that in the legislation.

Nancy Pelosi: (01:16)
Competition, competition, competition is so important in the meat packing industry and it just simply doesn’t exist, so that will also lower meat and poultry cost on the shelf and therefore at the kitchen table. The lowering cost with the cheaper, cleaner, unleaded 88. This is a very important issue to many of our members in rural America, because much of it exists there and the average reduction at the pump is about 40 cents. We’re very pleased with that legislation. The vote will come up soon. Again, I would tell you what it does, but you can read it here on the sign. Again, we want to break the grip of foreign supply on American kitchen tables, and that applies in fuel as well as fertilizer. And again, many of these meat packing companies are foreign owned.

Nancy Pelosi: (02:19)
When Putin invaded Ukraine, almost immediately, the cost of at the price at the pump went up. About $2 in not immediate, but near immediate range of his invasion. So largely the price of the pump is about supply. Supply is down. Cost is up. The war has contributed enormously to that, but there is also price gouging. And we had legislation that we talked about before that was passed in the Congress, addressing price gouging as well as market manipulation. So there’s some corporate greed involved in this price at the pump as well. And we are again taking steps to lower the cost at the pump, so that America’s working families are not being exploited in that way. The other thing that we did, that the president is going to sign today is legislation that will address the exorbitant fees that are paid. And the bill is called the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which will be signed into law by the president today.

Nancy Pelosi: (03:34)
The bill cracks down on exorbitant fees charged by international ocean shipping companies to make goods more expensive for America’s consumers and small businesses. The bill will lower cost for Americans as nearly 100 trade organizations recently wrote. It will help ensure US competitiveness and lead to continued economic recovery. So for these and other ways to address the lowering cost, the affordability issue, we then also add the Competes Act, which we are negotiating right now every day, actually to hopefully declare our independence from overseas supply, therefore increasing production at home. So whether it’s the shipping bill, whether it’s issues that relate to lowering cost for farmers, therefore lowering cost for families, whether it’s about the price at the pump, whether it’s about market manipulation, price gouging, the rest on the part of corporate America. And I don’t paint them all with the same brush, but there are those who are engaged in that.

Nancy Pelosi: (04:47)
All of it is to say, how do we address the inflation issue? We do so by increasing supply at home and doing so in a way that has a direct impact on families at America’s kitchen tables. And the negotiations on competes, we are narrowing it down to where we have our agreement that we can just proceed. And that’s been for a while. And now, just narrowing further those areas where we have further negotiation is necessary and we’ve put out the word that we wanted to have from our chairs what they see as the remaining issues to be negotiated, because this is again, the Competes Act, the Innovation Act, [inaudible 00:05:37], whatever you want to call it is a declaration of American independence. It just says we’re going to make more of it in America, whether it’s the factors of production or the products themselves with all of the constraints that COVID has played.

Nancy Pelosi: (05:53)
Look, we had the war in Iraq. We have COVID, which has really deterred more product coming into our country either by design or just by marketplace factors. So there’s real reason for us to now just be completely assertive in how we do our research, how we do our development, how we do our education, how we do our make it in America for our chips. You’ve heard me say it a million times, 1,000 chips in a car, 2,000 in electric car. We don’t have chips. We cannot proceed with manufacturing at home, but that’s just one industry that is affected by it.

Nancy Pelosi: (06:36)
When the president was at the State of the Union address, he talked about a unity agenda. He talked about helping our veterans and this PACT Act will go very far to do that. We have other veterans legislation, but this is so central, so transformative that anyone who’s exposed to these burn pits. A burn pit could be as big as a football field or even bigger and have horrible things in it that are carcinogenic if you have served. And so we want to be sure people know that when we ask them to serve and protect and defend our country, that we are there to protect and defend them in every possible exposure to their health and wellbeing when they come home. And then he talked about mental health. Next week, we’ll have a number of bills on the floor. I’ll read some of them to you. Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Wellbeing Act, that’s coming out of energy and commerce. Bobby Scott’s committee will have the mental health matters, education and labor, mental health bills, some of them under suspension.

Nancy Pelosi: (07:42)
So we’re pleased about that and he talked about opioids, which will be included in, especially the energy and commerce part of that bill. And he talked about cancer. He talked about veterans. He talked about mental health. He talked about cancer and he talked about opioids and all of those issues will be addressed in legislation on the floor next week. And we hope much of it to be strongly, strongly bipartisan in the way it is passed. Again, we’re waiting prayerfully for the Senate negotiations on guns in terms of the writing of the bill. So we feel pretty prepared anytime that they’re finished that we will be here to pass that legislation. Any questions? I think the first question should go to our birthday boy, what do you think? Even though he doesn’t on a yellow shirt or anything like that. Happy birthday.

Speaker 3: (08:43)
Thank you very much. That’s very kind to you. I just want to ask, you met with the president yesterday and Senator Schumer. It sounded like you were meeting on reconciliation. Is there any movement on this at all?

Nancy Pelosi: (08:59)
Well, reconciliation is a Senate matter now. We’ve passed our bill. We’ve made our views known and that is closely held negotiation on the Senate side. Suffice to say that we expressed our interest in the timing of when it would happen, but we did not get into the details.

Speaker 3: (09:26)
There any chance it happens in July or anything?

Nancy Pelosi: (09:26)
Well, it’s alive. I’ll just say that. It’s alive. I would say that there are certain concerns that we have about subsidies and the healthcare bill and the rest, which may or may not be in the negotiation, but we shall see. But whatever it is, everything that was in the reconciliation bill is great. So if we just have some of it, that’ll be very good. And we look forward to that. But I just don’t know. As I think you know from the dynamic around here of Senate negotiation is very close held as it is on the guns right now. As they write the legislation to match the priorities that they put forth, we hope that the priorities will survive the legislative writing of the bill.

Speaker 3: (10:09)
I’m sure.

Nancy Pelosi: (10:09)
Yes ma’am?

Speaker 4: (10:10)
Speaker Pelosi, do you believe that Donald committed a crime related to January 6th? And if you do believe that, do you think that the committee should make a criminal referral for Trump or do you believe it’s-

Nancy Pelosi: (10:20)
I’m not answering any questions on January 6th. With all due respect to your question, that January 6th purpose is to seek the truth, to perhaps propose legislation, if they see fit, that will be sure to contribute to the final goal, which is to make sure that this never happens again, but it’s up to the committee as they go forward. Yes, [inaudible 00:10:41].

Speaker 5: (10:42)
[inaudible 00:10:42] this piece of legislation on the floor today about fuel costs and food costs. And we do have the hearing today. Are you worried that the conversation about this and trying to help the pocketbook of Americans isn’t getting through when there’s so much attention on the 1/6 committee and everything else, and not as much attention on that. Is that a struggle for them?

Nancy Pelosi: (11:02)
No, we don’t just do one thing around here. We take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. We do that every day. The manifestation of it now is the January 6th committee. And I’m very proud of how they have conducted themselves, but they’re drawing their conclusions and going forth with their presentation. But we never take our eye off the ball of the kitchen table issues for America’s working families.

Nancy Pelosi: (11:27)
In fact, in addition to our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution, what unifies Democrats the most, while we have our differences and timing and perspective on things, what unifies us the most is our concern for America’s working families. And that’s why when we won in ’18, we said we were going to lower cost and we’re doing that. We’re going to increase paychecks. And we did that. And we’re going to have cleaner government, which is what we’re striving to do. But in the lowering cost, we’re still having a struggle on the prescription drug issue. We couldn’t get one Republican vote on that. So we’re still working on that because that’s a big kitchen table issue. But no, we are here to do the job for the American people. It doesn’t mean just one piece of the job.

Speaker 5: (12:19)
But you had these White House officials come in and talk to the Democratic caucus today about trying to hone that message on the economy.

Nancy Pelosi: (12:23)
What did they do?

Speaker 5: (12:28)
The message on the economy, the three came in this morning.

Nancy Pelosi: (12:30)
Yeah. They made a fine presentation about our shared values and it was very encouraging to hear. Not that we learned, we know what their values are and I was very pleased and honored by their presentation about the economy. But just because we’re having a presentation, we’re always learning more. We’re always having a presentation. We’re always adding to the agenda what legislation is in furtherance of. Again, we’re here for the kitchen table, not the boardroom table. Boardroom table, gouge. Boardroom table, exploit. Kitchen table, how do we increase paychecks, lower cost. And again, in terms of our oath of office, clearly you see from the photographs that certain elements of the Republican party will do anything to stay in power. That’s not what we’re about. We’re hoping that we could get the For the People Act enacted in the Senate. Yes, ma’am?

Speaker 6: (13:42)
St. John Paul II said [inaudible 00:13:45] say that abortion is murder.

Nancy Pelosi: (13:45)
Excuse me. I’m sorry. Could you start all over?

Speaker 6: (13:46)
St. John Paul II said [inaudible 00:13:46], that abortion is murder. And Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy for Life that abortion is true to murder. Do you agree with Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II that abortion is murder?

Nancy Pelosi: (14:00)
Is what I agree on is that whatever I believe or agree with the popes on is not necessarily what public policy should be in the United States as people make their own judgements, honor their own responsibilities, and attend to the needs of their families. Next.

Speaker 7: (14:21)
I’m sorry. Actually, as far as the abortion case is concerned, there has been a number of attacks on churches, on crisis pregnancy centers. Republicans are going after Democrats for not saying anything. And they’re saying that your rhetoric is contributing to these attacks on these crisis pregnancy-

Nancy Pelosi: (14:41)
Well, let me just say this. A woman has a right to choose, to live up to her responsibility. It’s up to her, her doctor, her family, her husband, her significant other, and her God. This talk of politicizing all of this I think is something uniquely American and not right. Other countries, Ireland, Italy, Mexico have had initiatives to expand a woman’s right to choose. Very Catholic countries. I’m a very Catholic person. And I believe in every woman’s right to make her own decisions. Any other questions on another subject? Because I’m not going to be talking about that anymore.

Speaker 8: (15:29)
I’m wondering in your meeting with Schumer in the White House last night, did you guys talk about this and did you get a commitment from Schumer about bringing this to the floor and what were Biden’s comments if you did discuss this?

Nancy Pelosi: (15:39)
Well, we weren’t discussing this chart. We only got this chart this morning. So no, we weren’t discussing that chart, but our lowering cost has always been our ongoing theme for the American people. What I would like to say is though, to point out and remind clearly need sometimes reminding, when this president took office 20 million people were out of work. He created public private partnerships and the rest, legislation and the rest, 8 million jobs created in the shortest amount of time possible. Wages increased, unemployment reduced. We did much of this with the Rescue package, for which we did not get one Republican vote, not one Republican vote. With the child tax credit, shots in the arm, money in the pockets. People back to work. Children backed to school safely without one Republican vote. So whatever it was that we discussed yesterday in that meeting, what we are about is, again, the wellbeing for America’s working families.

Nancy Pelosi: (16:51)
And we just clearly need to make sure people understand the historic accomplishments of this president. 8 million jobs, unemployment cut in half. The lowest rate of unemployment among veterans, 2.4%, something like that, veterans unemployment. So again, we have to continue our work. We’re legislating. And sometimes that takes time because we’re striving for as much bipartisanship as possible. Doesn’t mean that they don’t vote for it, that we don’t have Republican provisions in legislation, but it does mean that we’re going to do the best possible job, the most sustainable job for the American people. So don’t expect me to be talking about a conversation that I may have had with the president. But no, we didn’t talk about this poster. Yes, sir?

Speaker 9: (17:48)
Last question.

Speaker 10: (17:49)
Can I ask about the concept of deficit reduction. That is part of this equation. Manchin, president as well said that deficit reduction could help with inflation. Do you buy that argument and would you be in favor of a reconciliation bill that significantly reduces the deficit going forward?

Nancy Pelosi: (18:04)
Absolutely. I’m a pay go person as you know. I have some who pose me on that score. When people have a suggestion, I say, does it create jobs? Does it create jobs and does it reduce the deficit, the national debt? I mean, let’s go bigger, the national debt. And we always were. And any of the proposals that we put forth, whether it was 3.5 or 1.75, or whatever it was, we always had the thought that we would be reducing the national debt in all of that.

Nancy Pelosi: (18:36)
And if you look at the history, it’s under Democratic presidents that the national debt has been reduced. The deficit greatly reduced under President Biden, check that out. And under President Clinton, we had pay go instituted for the first time in overall presidency, a little bit under president George Herbert Walker Bush, the negotiations at Andrews Air Force Base.

Nancy Pelosi: (19:05)
But as a presidency, Bill Clinton, the last four or five, depending on how you judge it, budgets either in balance or in surplus operationally, taking us to reducing the national debt in a significant way, completely turned around under President Bush. The biggest reversal in how a national debt grows from on a path to reduce by $5.4 trillion to increasing by $5.4 trillion, an $11 trillion swing. President Obama comes in first year. He reduces the deficit, which is what contributes to the national debt by $700 billion. Went from like $1.5 to $500, almost a trillion dollar reduction in the national debt right away under President Obama. So this is the value that we share. And for a couple reasons.

Nancy Pelosi: (20:15)
First of all, it’s the right thing to do. But in addition to that, we’re just sick and tired of paying debt service, interest on the loan. Well, that’s money that could be invested in our children’s education and the wellbeing of the American people. And of course, reducing the national debt. So I’m a pay go person. And I think that as we are doing things, there are two ways. Is it an initiative that of its nature will help reduce the debt? And is it legislation that contains within it funding to directly immediately reduce the national debt? Thank you all very much.

Speaker 9: (20:54)
Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 11: (20:54)
What did you think of the impersonator of Clay Thompson who snuck into the arena? Did you support him?

Speaker 12: (21:12)
Happy birthday [inaudible 00:21:12].

Speaker 11: (21:12)
Happy birthday [inaudible 00:21:11].

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