June 27, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives ahead of the vote on H.R. 3401. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the distinguished Chairwoman for yielding and admire her for her distinguished and hard work to bring a solution to the floor.
This is not the one that we had hoped for, but it is one that we will be voting on today.
I thank Nita Lowey, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and all the appropriators for their relentless, good faith work on a strong bill that we had hoped would completely protect vulnerable children, keep America safe and honor our values.
Today, sadly, and almost with a broken heart, those values are being undermined by failed policies, which have intensified a situation of heartbreak and horror on the border, all of which challenges the conscience of America.
Mr. Speaker, I’ll be brief in just saying, right now, children need their families. Right now, little children are enduring trauma and terror. Many are living in squalor at the border station. Some are sleeping on cold ground without warm blankets or hot meals.
Kids as young as seven and eight-years-old are watching over infants because no one else is there to care for them. As one little girl caring for two infants said, ‘I need comfort too. I am bigger than they are, but I am a child too.’
Mr. Speaker, we could have done so much better, so much better than what we are faced with today. It is my belief, my colleagues, that our country is at a moment of truth and acting upon our values as we develop policies.
I am proud of the work that our appropriators in the House have done in passing a bill that received overwhelming Democratic support on Tuesday. It was even bipartisan.
The current situation on the border is shameful and does not reflect America’s values. We do not need anyone, especially the United States Senate, to tell us what the needs are on the border and that we have to act expeditiously.
Our Members are very well versed and excellent representatives of the regions they represent and that are affected. But we want to find a path to improve the conditions under which we are addressing and ministering to the needs of children and families there.
We are gravely disappointed in the actions taken by the Senate in opposing the regular order of the Congress of the United States. We will continue to fight for our values and priorities in our legislation and beyond.
Our strongest ally is getting a better policy than what has passed by the Republican Senate is public opinion and people – people and institutions of good faith in our country. Our faith-based institutions who minister to the needs of our immigrants, know that this is not the best way to go.
And so, as we go forward we will continue to fight for our values with public opinion and faith-based organizations on our side.
The American people are constantly asking the question, ‘Why aren’t we doing a better job to respect the dignity and worth of our children?’ The dignity and worth of our children. The dignity and worth of our children.
That might amuse you, but it’s not amusing to the children who are affected. The children come first. At the end of the day we have to make sure that the resources needed to protect the children are available.
Therefore, we will not engage in the same disrespectful behavior that the Senate did in ignoring the House priorities. In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly put the Senate bill on the Floor.
As the Senate bill passes, we will – when it does, if it does, it will not be the end of this debate. It will be the battle cry. It will be the battle cry as how we go forward to protect children in a way that truly honors their dignity and worth, their spark of divinity that they are all children of God.
And, I thank our colleague [Congresswoman Escobar] for the beautiful moment of silence that she held earlier.
So, my colleagues, I thank you for your leadership to protect families, honor our values, keep America safe.
As always, with every vote, it is a vote of conscience. The situation at the border is a challenge to the conscience of America. It is a challenge to the – should be a challenge to the conscience of each and every one of us. As always, you must vote your conscience.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.