Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi Remarks at Press Event Unveiling College Affordability Act

October 15, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott and House Democrats for a press event to unveil the College Affordability Act, a comprehensive proposal to cut the cost of college, increase the quality of higher education and expand opportunity to a new generation of students.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good afternoon everyone.

Thank you for being here on a subject that is so important to our country: the education of our young people, of the generation to come.

College Affordability Act 2019.  I am honored to be here with the distinguished Chair of the Education and Labor Committee, Bobby Scott, really a champion for young people in our country.  He carries the credential of not only being the Chair of the Education and Labor Committee, but like the second-most senior person, should he have decided to go that route, on the Judiciary Committee, where he has fought for justice for our young people in his service in the Congress of the United States. 

So, whether it’s opportunity on one side, in education, or fairness on the other side, for our young people, he’s unsurpassed in his leadership for being there for the young people in our country.

I’m also pleased to be here with Mark Takano, the Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  He is a former teacher himself and so his credentials are very important in this as well.

And, Susan Davis is not only senior, number two, I guess, on this Committee and number two on the Armed Services Committee, so she knows that the strength in our country is measured not only in our military might, which is important, but also in the education and well-being of our young people and America’s families.   

So, these are champions, staunch champions for education in our country.  Education, which makes all the difference in the world.

So, they’ve been persistent, relentless and they’ve made this historic day possible.

It is – Susan, before you came you were President of the PTA in your community right?  I remember that election very well, 2000. 

Today, the College Affordability Act — with this Act, the House Democrats are delivering on a top priority for the American people.  

Every time we meet with students and families, we hear the same thing: college affordability in America is just inaccessible to them.

We must put an end to years of Republican inaction because we can no longer afford to do nothing when 44 million Americans are saddled with $1.5 trillion in debt.

Democrats are proud to be For The People in our agenda: investing in college affordability, putting money back in the pockets of students and families – as we honor our founding values of fairness and equality.

This bill is a down payment on our nation’s future.  We are making college more affordable: reducing the cost of college, expanding Pell Grants and Public Service Loan Forgiveness and reforming loan repayment options. 

We are improving access to a quality education: cracking down on predatory colleges that defraud students and veterans, and ensuring schools put students first.

And we are expanding opportunity: investing in HBCUs – Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Minority Serving Institutions, Hispanic Serving Institutions, as well, and Native American Institutions as well, and community colleges, and creating pathways to good-paying jobs.

Now, let’s hear from the architect of this bold, very bold, proposal – whose praises I sang earlier – Chairman Bobby Scott. 

* * *

Q:  May I pose a question to Speaker Pelosi, an off-topic question?   

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, let’s see, if we have any other questions about the education or the College Affordability Act?  Any other questions about that? 

Let me just congratulate our colleagues on this important legislation.  It is focused and targeted to help those for whom it will make a big difference as to whether they will attend higher education, in particular excited about the community college aspects and Hispanic Serving and HBCUs as well, in the bill. 

The – many of our young people need skills in order to, again, increase their income, the wages that they will receive and salaries that they would hopefully come into, and this is a path to that. 

I also want to say that in our campaign last year, our agenda was For the People.  For the People: we would lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs.  Second, we would increase paychecks by building infrastructure of America in a green way.  Central to that is workforce development – and workforce development is what this legislation is about as well, at whatever level our young people want to participate, whether it’s in the trades and go on from there. 

So, this is very, very important.  Not only in – to address the aspirations of our young people but also for the success of our country, our competitiveness globally but also building the infrastructure of America with our own well-trained workforce, increasing their paychecks, so thank you, Mr. Chairman for that. 

Thank you Congresswomen Davis, Madam Chair as well, Congressman, Mr. Chairman of the Veteran Affairs Committee.

Yes ma’am.

Q:  Do you expect to hold a formal vote –

Speaker Pelosi.  I will be talking about that later today after I meet with my colleagues.  So, if you want to come tonight, you can join us after I have some meetings – after I meet with my Members. 

Q:  Madam Speaker, you have talked about the importance of bringing the public along on impeachment.  Do you believe the closed door hearings and depositions over the last couple of weeks have done that?

Speaker Pelosi.  I believe the judgment of our Committee Chair, Mr. Adam Schiff, has served the country well, in protecting our Constitution.  I will talk to you later. 

Thank you all very much.