June 27, 2019
Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections SAFE Act. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the recognition. Madam Chair of the House Administration Committee, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, whom we are very proud of in California, thank you, thank you for leading us on this path with great patriotism and respect for the oath of office we take.
It’s just a joy to be having this opportunity to speak out for the sacred oath to vote, the sacred blessing, the right to vote as we leave to go on the Fourth of July break. I thank you.
The other Members of the House Administration Committee, Mr. Butterfield, whom we heard from yesterday, Mr. Raskin, Mr. Aguilar, Congresswoman Susan Davis who presented to us earlier. And to all of you. And to Mr. Sarbanes. He has been the face of the future. He’s been speaking out against the misrepresentations that have happened, the propagandizing that’s happened by foreign governments in our election.
Yeah, we won the election. We won the election because the American people were sick and tired of what the Republicans were putting forth. We won the election in the most gerrymandered, voter-suppressed, political arena you can imagine. Yet, the American people came forward.
One of the biggest messages we had in the campaign was H.R. 1, to reduce the role of dark special interest money in politics. To stop the systemic, intentional voter suppression of the Republicans across the country. To stop local gerrymandering on all sides, let’s do it in a nonpartisan way, let the chips fall where they may. And to do so in a way that we are taking a piece of it today to talk about protecting our electoral system. A short while, we’ll take up the Voting Rights [Advancement] Act that’s also part of H.R. 1.
H.R. 1 was very supported by the Democrats, very publicized to the American people and part of our For The People agenda. Lower health care costs by lowering the costs of prescription drugs and protecting the pre-existing condition benefit. Bigger paychecks by building infrastructure of America in a green way. Cleaner government by passing H.R. 1, one of the component parts of what we are bringing together – coming together around, today.
As we approach the Fourth of July, we must remember the oath that we take to support and defend the Constitution and protect the American people which demands that this House of Representatives take urgent action.
We must legislate. We must investigate. And we must litigate to protect our national security, defend our democracy For The People.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed an all-out attack on our elections by the Russians, concluding that they ‘interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a sweeping and systemic fashion.’ Top intelligence and security officials have made clear that these attacks continue. They are happening, and they are happening now.
This spring, F.B.I. Director Chris Wray warned of a ‘365-day-a-year threat’ from the Russians, explaining their attacks in our elections were simply ‘a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020.’
This House has a patriotic duty to protect our democracy from these attacks. This is a matter of national security. That is why Democrats’ first act in the Majority was to advance, as I mentioned, H.R. 1, For The People Act, to secure our elections.
Today, we are building on that progress with the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act, which takes urgently-needed action to further strengthen America’s defenses.
This bill closes dangerous gaps in our election systems and brings our security into the 21st century.
I know that other Members have spoken about the provisions of the bill, but I just would really like to know from my Republican friends, what’s wrong with replacing outdated, vulnerable voting equipment? What is wrong with requiring paper ballot voting systems to ensure the integrity of our elections? What is wrong with enacting strong cyber security requirements for elections technology vendors and voting systems?
We must be relentless in the defense of our democracy, fighting on all fronts to keep America safe.
There is a reason why the Russians are interfering in our elections, and other countries may be too, but we can document with full confidence from the intelligence community that the Russians are.
It is because they want to affect the outcome of the elections so they can affect the policy.
And I think it was really sad – I was sad to say, and hopefully, would be retracted – that the President gave a green light to the Russians to do it again. Really? Really?
This week we are advancing appropriations legislation that provides $600 million for election security grants to states and increases funding for the election assistance commission, which has been starved for funding for years.
Couple of dollars for every person in our country to honor the vision of our Founders of a democracy where everyone who is eligible to vote can vote, and everyone’s vote is counted as cast.
Next month, we will advance further legislation to protect our national security and prevent foreign interference in our elections. And I commend the distinguished Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Mr. Bennie Thompson, for the great work that he has been doing with his task force and his committee and other members who are working with him as we go forward.
And we are pleased that the Administration has agreed to provide an all-Member briefing on election security that will happen in July, so we can get the facts. We have been trying to get the facts.
Some people around here may think that it is okay to just make policy without the facts. We are evidence-based, scientifically-oriented, truth and knowledge-based on how we go forward.
We look forward to that briefing. And we also look forward to July 17, when Special Counsel’s testimony on July 17, the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony will come forward.
Our national security is being threatened and the American people need answers. This is not to be fear-mongering, this is to be smart and anticipate a known challenge that exists and to do something about it.
We cannot just talk about the Mueller Report and saying what it says about the Russian interference in our elections unless we are ready to do something about it. Today, we are, thanks to our distinguished Chair, Chairwoman Lofgren.
There is a need for bipartisan support for our critical, commonsense action to secure or elections. Unfortunately, Senator McConnell, self-described ‘Grim Reaper’, has vowed to kill our bills in the Senate while the President openly declares that he sees no problem with foreign intervention – interference in our elections.
The GOP Senate and the White House are giving foreign countries the green light to attack our country, but the House will do our patriotic duty to protect America.
As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, I urge my colleagues to remember the oath we take and the democracy we defend and to join me in a strong bipartisan vote to defend America’s security.
This is about – this is not about politics, it is about patriotism. As our Founders said at the beginning of the Constitution in its preamble, we do this for the people. I yield back.