May 12, 2020
Transcript: Nancy Pelosi & House Democrats Unveil $3 Million Relief Bill for COVID-19
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held a press conference where she unveiled a $3 Trillion relief bill for the coronavirus. House Democrats are calling it the “Heroes Act.” Read the full transcript of Pelosi’s announcement.
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Nancy Pelosi: (00:07)
Good afternoon. In February, sadly, we learned of the first known Coronavirus death in the United States. Since then over 80,000 Americans have died and nearly 1.4 million have been infected. 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance. We all know these numbers. We face the biggest catastrophe in our nation’s history. Setting aside how we got here, we must approach this tragedy with the deepest humanity as we go into the future. All of our hearts are broken by the loss of life. The number of 33 million Americans who have filed for unemployment insurance is almost unimaginable. This is a moment when many millions of our fellow Americans are in deep suffering.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:56)
We must have empathy for our heroes, the healthcare workers, for how exhausted and how stressed they are and doing their jobs. Add to that, they may lose their jobs in this economy. We must also empathize with the pain of families who do not know where their next meals are coming from and how to pay next month’s rent.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:15)
It is imperative that we address the needs of the American people with clarity on how we proceed. That is why today House Democrats are introducing the HEROES Act, named for our heroes, whose provisions are largely based on the four previous bipartisan bills we have passed. The HEROES Act focus on three pillars, opening our economy safely and soon, honoring our heroes, and then putting much needed money into the pockets of the American people.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:46)
We can all agree that we must open our economy as quickly as we can, but we must do so based on science and data. The key to opening the door is testing, tracing, treatment and social distancing. And we must do so in a way that reaches all Americans in a way that addresses the disparities we have seen, so that we can assess the full extent of the virus and defeat it.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:12)
Overwhelmingly, the scientific community agrees. Americans also agree that we owe our heroes in the fight against the Coronavirus and enormous debt of gratitude. Our healthcare, first responders, teachers, transit, food, sanitation, and other essential workers who rescue their lives to save lives and who could now lose their jobs. To do that, we must act boldly to support state and local entities to address Coronavirus related outlays and lost revenue due to the Coronavirus.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:44)
We all know that we must put more money in the pockets of the American people. This is not only necessary for their survival, but it is also a stimulus to the economy. Direct payments, unemployment insurance, rental and mortgage help, and food and student loan assistance, among other things, are essential to relieve the fear that many families are facing.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:05)
The Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank has told us to think big because interest rates are so low. The low interest rate and the prospect of access to credit has bolstered the stock market. We intend to use those low interest rates to bolster the American people. We must think big for the people, now. Because if we don’t, it will cost more in lives and livelihood later. Not acting is the most expensive course.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:32)
We are presenting a plan to do what is necessary to deal with the corona crisis and make sure we can get the country back to work and school safely. We have a goal, we have benchmarks, and we have the science to succeed. In this critical moment for our country, we must demonstrate a clear strategy of testing, tracing, and treatment, again. We must honor our heroes in the Coronavirus crisis with support, not just words. We must address the pain of families who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:05)
I’m proud of the chairs of our committees of jurisdiction for the work on all five bills. We must all take an extra moment to understand the numbers we are seeing, which are the most overwhelming in our lifetimes. These numbers require action that we’ve never had to take before. There were those who said, “Let’s just pause.” But the families who are suffering know that hunger doesn’t take a pause, the rent doesn’t take a pause. The bills don’t take a pause, the hardship of losing a job or tragically losing a loved one doesn’t take a pause.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:38)
This is an historic challenge and therefore a momentous opportunity for us to meet the needs of the American people to save their lives, their livelihoods and our democracy.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:49)
Four hundred years ago, the great poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, Entire of itself; each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. Each man’s death diminishes me, for I’m involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Nancy Pelosi: (05:10)
America’s heart is full of love, and our tradition is one of optimism and hope. Let us pray for those who are affected. Let us pray for a cure and a vaccine, and let us pray to God to continue to bless America. Thank you.