Category Archives: Political

Pelosi Names Members of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress

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January 29, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi today named Democratic Members to serve on the new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

“It is a great privilege to name these outstanding Members of Congress to the House’s new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress,” said Speaker Pelosi.  “Our new Members are pioneers and innovators with proven track records of achievement in making our institution more transparent, unifying and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the American people.  With Congressman Kilmer at the head of the table, this Select Committee will strengthen and reinvigorate our institution, advancing a House of Representatives that is diverse, dynamic, oriented toward the future and committed to delivering results For The People.”

In addition to Chairman Derek Kilmer of Washington, the Members of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress are:

  • Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri
  • Congresswoman Suzan DelBene of Washington
  • Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California
  • Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin
  • Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12919/

Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of Keeping Government Open

Newsroom

January 29, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of keeping government open. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to call attention to the fact that so many – so many – 800,000 federal workers were out of work when the government was shut down and now happily they will be back at work, and soon all of them getting a paycheck. This was very sad for their families, very sad for their communities where their financial viability is important and very sad for our economy.

So happily government is re-open but not without paying a price.

I was very pleased last week on Thursday so many Members came to the Floor to tell the stories of the families affected by the shutdown and then we had a Special Order and people saw comfort in the fact we were recognizing the value that our public employees add to our economy and also concern for their well-being.

I want to tell one story that I thought was just so remarkable.

Yesterday, I went to help have meals for the families that still have not gotten a paycheck even though government is open. It will be a couple more days.

While I was there, I met a woman who – she seemed young to me but I guess she must have been middle-aged. They told me, after I was with her for a while, that on Friday she would be going to hospice. She was going to hospice, but it was a comfort to her to spend her last days before hospice feeding the hungry, having empathy for those who had that uncertainty in their lives.

What a blessing she is. Let us all have that empathy for those who are placed in that financial insecurity. And let us work to keep government open, to come to agreement, so we can remove all doubt in anyone’s mind that that is not a reasonable path to seek agreement – at the – holding hostage our public employees.

We thank them for what they do for our country. We sympathize with them at this time. We’re happy that government is open.

Let’s work together to keep it so. With that, I yield back Mr. Speaker.

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12919-2/

Pelosi, Schumer Announce Stacey Abrams To Deliver Democratic Response To President Trump’s State Of The Union

Newsroom

January 29, 2019

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Will Deliver Democrats’ Spanish Language Response

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today announced that Stacey Abrams, former Democratic Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, will deliver the Democratic Response to President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. They also announced that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will deliver the Spanish language response to the speech.

Former Georgia House Minority Leader Abrams said, “At a moment when our nation needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose, I am honored to be delivering the Democratic State of the Union response. I plan to deliver a vision for prosperity and equality, where everyone in our nation has a voice and where each of those voices is heard.”

Attorney General Becerra said, “I’m looking forward to addressing my fellow Americans on a day when truth, candor and unity should be the order of the day. There is enough good going on in this country that we don’t need to hide behind misrepresentations to describe the State of our Union. Americans work hard, we remain the hub of innovation, and we’ll fight to defend our liberties and the rule of law. The America I know is ready to fight to keep its healthcare, to root out public corruption, and treat everyone in our nation with respect. Democrats are ready to build a stronger Union.”

“Democrats are thrilled that Stacy Abrams will be delivering the Democratic response to the State of the Union,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “Her electrifying message of courage, perseverance and hope reinvigorated our nation and our politics, and continues to inspire millions of Americans in every part of the country.  Stacey Abrams embodies the American Dream, and her powerful message of progress for all is deeply needed during this time for our country.”

“Stacey Abrams is offers a welcome, stark contrast to President Trump’s politics of division and lack of leadership as American families are still feeling the impacts of his self-imposed shutdown,” said Senate Democratic Leader Schumer. “Stacey Abrams is a present and future leader in this country. She is a dynamic, moral leader; she delivered results on the issues that matter most to Americans; and she tirelessly pursues fairness and justice for everyone in her state.”

“We are also proud that California Attorney General and former Congressman Xavier Becerra will be delivering Democrats’ Spanish-language response,” Pelosi continued.  “Attorney General Becerra is a towering champion of equal justice and a tireless fighter for every American’s right to quality, affordable health care, and we all look forward to his strong message of progress for all American families and communities.”

Schumer added, “Xavier Becerra embodies the promise of America. Throughout his career and most recently as the first Latino to serve as state attorney general in California history, he has kept that promise alive for millions of children and families across the nation by protecting access to affordable health care and defending the dignity of everyone in our country from the Trump administration’s harmful and divisive attacks. His moral and vigilant leadership on behalf of hardworking families is a critical marker for all who believe that our country’s best days are still ahead of us.”

***

Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams was Georgia’s 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee. The first Black woman to be the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in any state, she won more votes than any other Democrat in Georgia state history. After witnessing the Secretary of State’s mismanagement of the 2018 election, Abrams launched Fair Fight to advocate for free and fair elections. Abrams is also a writer, attorney, and entrepreneur.

Xavier Becerra is the 33rd Attorney General of the State of California, and is the first Latino to hold the office. As attorney general, he has led the legal fight against the Trump administration’s attacks on families and children, filing more than 100 legal actions — including 45 lawsuits — more than any other state attorney general. His efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and clean air and water have helped protect millions of children and families across the nation. Attorney General Becerra is the son of working-class parents; married to Dr. Carolina Reyes, and they are the proud parents of three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia.

 

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12919-3/

Pelosi Invites President Trump to Deliver State of the Union Address on February 5th

Newsroom

January 28, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter today to President Trump regarding the State of the Union address.

In the letter, the Speaker wrote “When I wrote to you on January 23rd, I stated that we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has reopened to schedule this year’s State of the Union address.  In our conversation today, we agreed on February 5th.”

Below is the text of the letter to the President:

* * *

January 28, 2019

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

When I wrote to you on January 23rd, I stated that we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has reopened to schedule this year’s State of the Union address.

In our conversation today, we agreed on February 5th.

Therefore, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress on February 5, 2019 in the House Chamber.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

NANCY PELOSI

Speaker of the House

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12819-2/

Kudlow Dismisses Damage from Trump Shutdown

Newsroom

January 28, 2019

They just don’t get it.

As President Trump threatens to shut down the government again, top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow blithely said this about the 35-day Trump Shutdown: “There’s certainly no permanent damage to the economy.”

Outside the White House’s bubble of CEOs and billionaires, here’s the reality for working families:

Washington Post Column: Lasting damage remains from Trump’s shutdown folly

Slicing through the relief that the longest U.S. government shutdown has finally stopped is the lasting-damage reality of President Trump’s reprehensible folly.

Providing back pay to the 800,000 federal employees who went without wages since before Christmas will not make them whole. Sacrifices were made that cannot be fixed. Many federal contractors are poorer after going without income for the 35-day partial shutdown … The harm goes beyond the tangible, beyond money lost.

Bloomberg: Shutdown Damage Will Persist Long After U.S. Government Reopens

The government may be reopening, but the consequences of the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history are likely to linger for national parks, forests, the federal workforce and cutting-edge scientific research.

Many fire crews missed their window for controlled burns to prevent wildfires. Irreplaceable relics may have been damaged in unguarded national parks. Science experiments were abandoned. And a generation of talent may now think twice about signing up for government, while workers returning to a month of unopened emails and missed meetings will have to decide which of their priorities to sacrifice this year.

The Trump Shutdown inflicted needless pain and chaos in the lives of the American people.  For 35 days, the President held hundreds of thousands of workers’ paychecks and countless families’ financial security, health and well-being hostage.

When the Congress completes its bipartisan, bicameral work to fund government, the President should swiftly sign that legislation to avert another shutdown and restore certainty to our economy and the lives of the American people.

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12819-3/

Pelosi Names Democratic Members to the Committee on House Administration

Newsroom

January 29, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi has recommended to the Democratic Caucus that the following Members serve on the Committee on House Administration.

“It is a privilege to name these outstanding Members to the Committee on House Administration,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “With Congresswoman Lofgren at the helm of this vital committee, these driven and deeply experienced Members will make great progress to foster a fairer and more efficient Congress that is accountable to the people’s interests, not the special interests.  We look forward to the extraordinary work they will do to strengthen our democracy by safeguarding elections and advancing Congress’s ability to deliver results For The People.”

In addition to Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren of California, the Members of the Committee on House Administration are:

  • Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland
  • Congresswoman Susan Davis of California
  • Congressman G. K. Butterfield of North Carolina
  • Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio
  • Congressman Pete Aguilar of California

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12819-4/

Washington Post: Pelosi’s stock soars on victory in deadlock

Newsroom

January 27, 2019

By: Mike DeBonis

January 27, 2019

Nancy Pelosi’s first showdown with President Trump began with him publicly questioning her political viability. It ended with the House speaker winning an unmitigated victory and reviving her reputation as a legislative savant.

Trump’s capitulation — agreeing to reopen the federal government after a 35-day standoff without funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall — generated rave reviews for Pelosi from fellow Democrats and grudging respect from Republicans who watched as she kept an unruly party caucus united in the face of GOP divide-and-conquer tactics.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) emerges from the shutdown as a stronger leader of her party — and more popular with the public, by early measures — as Democrats eye aggressive efforts to counter Trump’s agenda through ambitious legislation and tough oversight. That suggests the shutdown might have been a strategic misstep for Trump, in addition to a tactical error.

 

“He’s used to hand-to-hand combat,” said former senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a longtime Pelosi friend and partner in politics. “With Nancy, it’s hand-to-hand combat with a velvet glove, and he’s not used to it.”

Even before the shutdown began, it became a clash between Trump, 72 — the political outsider, a New Yorker born to privilege and accustomed to getting his way — and Pelosi, 78 — the oft-caricatured San Francisco liberal who was actually steeped in the street politics of her Baltimore youth and years of hardball on Capitol Hill.

When the two met in the Oval Office on Dec. 11 Trump suggested she was constrained by the fact she had not yet been formally elected speaker: “Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now.”

Pelosi shot back: “Mr. President, please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting.”

In retrospect, the remark was more a warning than a retort. Throughout the past seven weeks, according to interviews with dozens of lawmakers and congressional aides from both parties, Trump and White House officials appeared to fundamentally misjudge Pelosi’s support among Democrats and her resolve to hold firm against border wall funding.

As recently as Thursday, Republicans indicated that they thought they might be able to break Democrats apart by painting Pelosi as intransigent and unwilling to negotiate on the wall. “I think it’s time for the Democratic Party to have an intervention with the speaker,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the Republican Conference chairwoman, told reporters.

Indeed, not all Democrats share Pelosi’s view that the wall is an “immorality,” but she kept fractious Democrats focused on a simple message: There would be no negotiations on the wall as long as the government remained closed.

“We can’t set a precedent for holding the federal workers hostage, holding anyone hostage, and using them as a bargaining tool for a policy discussion,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), one of many freshmen who beat a suburban Republican by running on a moderate platform. “People have different views on the right way to get [border security] done, and there’s legitimate policy differences there, but let’s have that discussion after we get our federal workers back to work.”

Tweeting late Friday, Trump vowed to keep fighting for his wall, saying the reopening of government “was in no way a concession.”

“It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!” he said.

But there appears to be little appetite on Capitol Hill for a reprise of the draining shutdown. Trump’s Plan B — declaring a national emergency and tapping military construction accounts to fund the wall — has unnerved many Republicans and spurred Democrats to prepare for litigation that might not be settled before Trump’s term is up.

“I think he’s finally met his match,” said Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). “The speaker always presents herself in public and in private with the utmost respect. But she’s firm, and she’s strong, and she understands how to wield that power.”

Throughout the standoff, Pelosi followed her own advice: Don’t get in the gutter with Trump — or, as she put it colorfully last month, don’t engage in a “tinkle contest with a skunk.” The episode was also influenced by her respect for the presidency, if not for the president himself, aides said.

In a central episode in the shutdown ordeal, Pelosi effectively blocked Trump from delivering the State of the Union address that they had mutually scheduled for Jan. 29. But Pelosi’s initial message to Trump did not cancel the invitation outright — instead, she suggested “that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has reopened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing.”

Her decision puzzled observers on Capitol Hill and in the White House — including the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), who declared in a television interview moments after the announcement that the speech had been canceled outright, a step Pelosi had carefully avoided.

Several Pelosi allies said the nuance in her letter to Trump was a sign of respect, not weakness.

“There was no way on earth that he was ever going to get in that chamber if the government was shut down,” Boxer said. “But she did it in the right way. . . . Another guy might have said in a macho battle with Trump, ‘Forget it. It’s not happening. We’re canceling it.’ I think it took him off his track for a little while. It threw him back.”

Trump did not get the hint. A day later, Trump retaliated by canceling a military flight that was set to ferry Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers on a trip that would include a visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Then this past week, after Trump indicated that he had no interest in rescheduling the speech, Pelosi informed Trump that she had no intention of calling the traditional joint session as long as the government remained closed.

Finally Trump, in late-night tweets, acknowledged that the speech would have to wait.

Speaking to a group of opinion journalists Friday, Pelosi explained the strategy: “You only start with a feather until you get to the sledgehammer.”

Though Trump’s legislative director, Shahira Knight, kept Pelosi’s chief of staff, Danny Weiss, abreast of developments, Pelosi and Trump had no direct interactions after Trump walked out of a Jan. 9 meeting in the White House Situation Room.

There, Pelosi had insisted that any short-term funding extension would not compel Democrats to agree to wall funding. Pelosi stuck to that position throughout the fight.

“Have I not been clear on the wall?” she said Friday when asked if her position had changed after the agreement to reopen the government was reached. “No, I have been very clear on the wall. I have been very clear.”

As the confrontation played out, the House moved bill after bill to reopen government agencies. Meanwhile, in the Republican-controlled Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to move on them without Trump’s assent — creating an imbalance of action that helped cement a perception that it was Trump and Republicans, not Pelosi and Democrats, who were keeping the government closed.

On Friday, after Trump agreed to sign the bill reopening the government, Democrats showered Pelosi with praise.

In one tweet, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said Pelosi “should give the State of the Union since she’s obviously the one running the country.” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) referred to the reported physical problem that disqualified Trump from the Vietnam-era draft: “@POTUS has bone spurs. @SpeakerPelosi has a backbone.” And the rapper Cardi B suggested that Pelosi had treated Trump like a pet dog.

One tweet also underscored Pelosi’s ability to unify her diverse caucus, from moderates in Trump districts to the party’s far left.

“I will tell you something most of the country probably already knows: @SpeakerPelosi does not mess around,” wrote freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a dominant voice in the party’s liberal wing.

Said Pelosi on Friday: “Our unity is our power, and that is what, maybe, the president underestimated.”

A CBS News poll released this past week pegged Pelosi’s approval number at 39 percent, a figure higher than Trump’s and McConnell’s — and appreciably higher than seen during last year’s midterm campaign, when Republicans spent tens of millions of dollars on ads attacking Pelosi as a symbol of dysfunctional governance. Fourteen percent of Republicans surveyed said Pelosi had outnegotiated Trump during the shutdown, vs. 6 percent of Democrats who saw Trump outmaneuvering Pelosi.

Among Pelosi’s recent fans are some of the Democrats who wanted to oust her as speaker, arguing that the party needed a fresher face at the helm.

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) said he was “more than pleased” that Pelosi had held the line against the wall. He represents a border district centered on Brownsville, where a coast-to-coast wall is widely viewed as folly.

“Those of us who represent these border districts who just think that the wall is just a total waste of money are grateful to Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer for the battle that they waged,” he said.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who ran against Pelosi for House Democratic leader in 2016 and tried to recruit an alternative speaker after the 2018 midterms, said: “I don’t think anyone’s ever denied her ability to negotiate, to be very tough and smart in these scenarios. The irony of the whole thing is, Trump was able to run over all of the Republicans and get them to cower with every demand he had . . . and he ran into a buzz saw.”

“People are seeing her as responsible in the face of gross irresponsibility and chaos,” Ryan added. “You don’t know who else would have been better. But she’s definitely up to the task.”

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12719/

Congressman Ted Lieu Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

Newsroom

January 25, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ted Lieu of California delivered the Weekly Democratic Address.  In this week’s address, the Congressman discussed the escalating safety and economic threat caused by President Trump’s senseless government shutdown, and Democrats’ continued actions to re-open government.  Video and audio of the Weekly Democratic Address can be downloaded here.

Below is a full transcript of the address:

“Hello, I’m Ted Lieu and I represent western Los Angeles County in the United States Congress. I previously served on active duty in our military because I believe America is an exceptional country, the most amazing nation in the world.

“But right now, the federal government under Donald Trump is partially shut down. No civilized nation on earth shuts down its own government.

“I’m going explain how we got here, how the shutdown affects you, and how we re-open government.

“It’s pretty simple how we got here. In fact, it’s all captured on videotape. Last month, Trump told the American people, quote, ‘I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.’ End quote.

“No President of the United States should ever be proud of shutting down our government. But Trump carried out his threat to shut down government. And he was enabled by Republicans in the House and the Senate.

“This shutdown started during a time of unified Republican control of the federal government: the White House, the Senate, and the House. Democrats inherited this shutdown from Republicans.

“And the effects of the Trump Shutdown are severe, harmful, and dangerous. There are some government jobs where we want full staffing and do not want the employee to be tired, stressed out and desperate because one mistake can be fatal.

“Air Traffic Controllers, who help keep the flying public safe, are not getting paid and are under increasing pressure to work multiple jobs. Or, they’ve simply to quit to get another job in order to make ends meet.

“The National Air Traffic Controllers Association issued a dire warning, saying that they cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which their entire system will break.

“As a result of the Trump Shutdown, there have been fewer food inspections, fewer inspections of planes, and the inability of the Consumer Products Commission to respond to unsafe product warnings.

“The shutdown has particularly impacted the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with keeping Americans safe.

“Our Border Patrols agents, TSA personnel, and Coast Guard members are all working without pay. Some have had to use food banks to feed their family; some are working multiple jobs to make ends meet; and some will need to quit because they cannot sustain working without a paycheck.

“The financial crunch doesn’t just impact federal workers. It impacts the landlords that can’t collect rent from furloughed renters; the small business owners who can’t get their permits from federal agencies; and the individuals who can’t get in touch with the IRS to work out payment plans.

“The shutdown is also hurting our economy. Nearly 400 trade associations and chambers of commerce have said the shutdown is causing significant damage to families, businesses and the economy. Recently, the White House’s top economic advisor admitted that the US economy may show zero economic growth this quarter.

“Now, how do we stop Trump and the Republicans from continuing to inflict harm on the American people? The Democratic position has been straightforward, consistent, and reasonable: Re-open government. Negotiate a deal.

“Democrats will never allow Trump and the Republicans to use the harm of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic. Because if we do, then Trump will do this any time he has a policy disagreement with Congress.

“The position taken by Trump is, in fact, quite perverse. He is saying that his concession is to re-open government. No American President should ever be taking the federal government hostage to extract demands.

“Democrats are working hard to re-open government.

“The House of Representatives has voted 11 times to re-open our government.

“The Republican-controlled Senate unfortunately has refused to pass any House legislation to re-open government. By failing to pass those measures, Senate Republicans are abdicating their duty as part of a co-equal branch of government.

“I am also disappointed that Trump and Republicans continue to lie about basic facts. The truth is, there is no crisis at the border that justifies a government shutdown.

“According to the latest data from the FBI, violent crime is down. Property crime is also down.

“According to the Department of Homeland Security, border crossings are at an approximate 20-year low.

“Study after study also shows that immigrants, both documented and undocumented, commit less crime than native-born Americans.

“The truth is, the shutdown is not about protecting our border, it’s about Trump’s failed campaign promise. He promised Mexico will pay for his wall. He has been unable to get Mexico to pay for his wall, so he decided to take the mantle and proudly shut down our government. That is wrong, and the American people know it.

“Poll after poll shows that overwhelming majorities of the American people do not support funding for a wall in the middle of a government shutdown. They support re-opening government.

“Mr. President, listen to the American people. Re-open our government.”

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12519/

Pelosi Remarks at Media Availability with Leader Schumer Following President Trump Agreeing to End Government Shutdown

Newsroom

January 25, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for a media availability following President Trump agreeing to end the government shutdown.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Mr. Leader, and thank you for your leadership in bringing us to this important resolution now, where shortly the Senate will send over to the House the paper.  I came over to see the original paper, and we’ll get it probably in a half an hour.

Two resolutions.  One to open up government for all of the agencies of government, and one to proceed to conference on the Homeland Security Bill.

We’re pleased that we reached an agreement to reopen government now so that we can have a discussion on how to secure our borders.  It is very clear that we all understand the importance of securing our borders and we have some very good ideas on how to do that.  And that will be part of the discussion as we go forward.

House Democrats look forward to working in a bipartisan, bicameral way to pass all of the bills to open government, as we proceed into the conference discussion.

Now, I’m an appropriator and I was forged in that culture and I know that left to their own devices, the appropriators, bicamerally and bipartisanly, can come to conclusion.  Again, sometimes it comes to the principals of the Leaders of the House and Senate to weigh in, and I think that we will have a very productive time in a short period of time to come to some conclusion.

But, I am grateful and inspired by the courage and the determination of America’s workers.  They have shown during this crisis something so – such strong character.  But, nonetheless they have to pay the bills when they come due.  Whether it’s a rent check, paying their mortgage, their credit card bills, their car payment, the list goes on.  Some of them didn’t even have gas money because they didn’t have cash, or any more line of, credit card ability to put gas in the car to go to work.

It’s really hard for some in the Administration to understand how people live paycheck to paycheck and how marginal some of their existences are – makes a difference in how they educate their children, how they put food on the table, again, how they pay their rent, etc.

So, we thank them and are so glad that, as the President said earlier, as soon as possible or immediately – so, I don’t know which is faster, but the quickest of the two –  they will receive their backpay and the pay that is due today.

We’re grateful to Democrats on both sides of the Capitol for their unity.  That was very, very important in these discussions.  It’s sad, though, that it’s taken this long to come to an obvious conclusion.  Talked about missed bills and financial security being shaken, sometimes questioning – putting in question the credit – how people’s credit is viewed.

And that’s particularly problematic for our veterans, many of whom are in their jobs with security clearances, and a security clearance is affected if your credit rating is diminished.  So, we are grateful to our veterans who have donned the uniform of our country, to protect us and then moved on to civilian side – to continue their public service.  And we want them to have all the respect they deserve.  As well as our other public employees, federal employees, who are working so hard to meet the needs of the American people.

We value their purpose.  We appreciate their diligence in performing their jobs.  Whether it’s, as the Leader said, keeping us safe in terms of civilian aviation, whether it’s the F.B.I. or other areas of public safety.  But, also just in so many ways, whether it’s food safety and the rest.  So – but we don’t want in any way, any shutdown of government to diminish the respect that we have for the purpose of our public employees and the excellence of their service.

Disagreement in policy should never be a reason to shut down government, really shouldn’t.  Especially, again, for a period of time that has an impact on the paychecks.  And I’m sad it’s taken this long.  I’m glad that we’ve come to a conclusion today as to how we go forward in the next three weeks.

And again, I salute the Minority Leader, the Democratic Leader in the Senate, for the work that he did to bring this – because in the House we passed – 10 times we passed a bill, working with our Leadership, Mr. Hoyer, ten times we brought bills to the Floor to open up government – to open up government.

And the most recent one that was presented on the Senate Floor yesterday was so simple.  $12 billion, $12 billion for disaster assistance and open up government for two weeks.  The Republicans said no.

I think the public weighed in.  I quote Lincoln all the time.  ‘Public sentiment is everything.  With it, you can accomplish almost anything.’  We thank the public for weighing in so strongly, for paying attention.

And I think that will be the success of this conference.  Again, as an Appropriator, I’ve participated in many conferences when we used to have them.  This conference, that the public awareness is so increased and the public interest in it is so sharpened that they will see what the decisions are that we have to make and how those decisions. I thank you again, Mr. Leader.

* * *

Leader Schumer.  Ok, wait, wait, one at a time, one at a time, please.  Come on.

Q:  Madam Speaker, the President has wanted this wall funding for a long time but it wasn’t until Democrats won the House that he really went to the mat for it.  How much of all of this do you think is about the new power dynamic and his desire to show you who’s really in charge? 

Speaker Pelosi.  I don’t get your question.  The point is today we have come to a way to go forward, to debate the best ways to protect our border.  I don’t see this as any power play.

Q:  I’m referring to the past 36 days and the fact that he held out over wall funding. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, if you’re saying that the President held out over wall funding to show who was in charge, I think that’s quite a bad statement to make about any leader in our country.  But what I do say is, let’s go forward, get this done.  The Leader mentioned lessons learned and hope that the people know that we cannot hold our public employees hostage because we have a disagreement.

How many?  34 days is it now, over one month, having an impact on their lives?  So I don’t want to make any characterizations of the President’s motivation.  You’ll have to ask him.

Leader Schumer.  Go ahead.

Q:  Speaker Pelosi, did the President underestimate you politically, and can you assure the public that there won’t be another impasse in three weeks? 

Speaker Pelosi.  I can’t assure the public on anything that the President will do but I do have to say, I’m optimistic.  I see every challenge or every crisis as an opportunity: an opportunity to do the right thing for the American people and at the same time make people aware of what the decisions are that we have here and hopefully that will make everybody come together in a way that is unifying for our country.  I can’t characterize the President’s evaluation of me.

Leader Schumer.  I’ll just say one more thing in reference to that.  I suggested to Leader McConnell that we use a conference committee format.  That conference committee has Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, sitting at a table, has worked very successfully on Homeland Security and everything and all the other bills that haven’t been signed over the last several years.  Even when the Republicans were in charge.  And so I’m very optimistic that the conference committee can come to a good conclusion and we can avoid another shutdown.

Go ahead.

Q:  Will the State of the Union go on as planned now? 

Speaker Pelosi.  The State of the Union is not planned now.

[Laughter]

What I said to the President is, when the government is open, we will discuss a mutually agreeable date and I’ll look forward to doing that and welcoming the President to the House of Representatives for the State of the Union when we agree on that mutual date.

Q:  You were planning to announce the border security vision of Democrats, what you want.  What is the state of that proposal, and also, can you accept any sort of physical barrier from a border security plan? 

Speaker Pelosi.  The work of the conference committee will draw out everyone’s view of what is the best way to protect our borders.  Our Chair of our Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, knows this issue very well.  She will go to the table with our best ideas on how to protect our border.  The Leader referenced some in terms of infrastructure that relates to our ports of entry.  The President talked about drugs coming into our country.  90 percent of the drugs come through the ports of entry.  Come one way or another, as he was describing, coming through our ports of entry.

Let us increase the infrastructure where the drugs are coming in, let us increase, as the Leader said, the technology to scan for that, for drugs, guns, contraband and the rest, let us talk about some of the things we have in common with the President in terms of humanitarian assistance for those coming over.

But we’re not having a conference committee right now.  We’ll leave it up to our Appropriators to come to that.  Some of the things we were going to discuss, where we think, where we have evidence-based knowledge about how we best secure our border.

Q:  As someone who was these negotiations, do you think the President underestimated the Speaker and do you think that he thought he could get what he wanted? 

Leader Schumer.  I think he thought – no one should ever underestimate the Speaker, as Donald Trump has learned.  But I also think – in addition to that, and I think Nancy would be the first – our Democrats stayed totally unified.  Certainly in the Senate they made huge noise, many attempts to take some of our Democrats and get them to side with them.

And the unity of our two Caucuses really worked.  Because I believe the President himself believed and was told by a couple of his advisors, you’ve written about them, that, ‘Oh, just hold out and we’ll get the Democrats to crack and join us.’

In the Senate more relevant than the House because they have the Majority.  He was unable to do that.

And I think after three weeks, as the toll mounted, and it became clear, we helped make it clear to the President, to the public, that the President was the one in charge of the shutdown, that he just, he knew that it was a lost cause.

You want to go?

Q:  Are you no longer ruling out any money for the wall? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Have I not been clear on a wall?  Ok.  No, I’ve been very clear on the wall.  Been very clear.  Let me just go to the previous question and say this, and associate myself with the remarks of the Leader.

In our caucus, the beauty of it is the mix.  And I always say, when people say to me, ‘Oh, you’re so good at organizing your caucus.’ No, I don’t unify our caucus.  Our values unify us.

I’m sure it’s the same in the Senate.  And the fact is that our diversity is our strength.  The differences of – in so many different ways, including differences of opinion.  That’s our strength.  But our unity is our power.  And that is what maybe the President under-estimated.

Leader Schumer.  Thank you, everybody.

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12519-2/

Pelosi Names Homeland Security Conferees

Newsroom

January 26, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi today named House Democratic Members to serve on a conference committee for homeland security.

“House Democrats look forward to working in a bipartisan, bicameral way to pass legislation to fund the government in a manner that honors our values, respects our workers and protects our borders,” said Speaker Pelosi.  “We are pleased that these outstanding, deeply experienced Members will be at the head of the table during this critical process.”

The following Democratic Members will serve on the conference committee:

  • Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey of New York
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard of California
  • Congressman David Price of North Carolina
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California
  • Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas
  • Congressman Pete Aguilar of California

Article source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12519-3/

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