Remarks at Media Availability on Next Steps in Impeachment Inquiry
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Adam Schiff, for a media availability following a meeting of House Democrats on next steps in the impeachment inquiry. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Good evening, everyone. Thank you for being here. We will joined by our distinguished Chairman, as soon as he’s finished voting.
I'll begin by talking about how pleased I am with the work that our Members did during the break. As I say all the time, we are legislating, we are investigating and we are litigating.
On a legislative front, we had a very great drumbeat across America for H.R. 3, our legislation to bring down the cost of prescription drugs now. Members had town meetings, press conferences and the rest to listen to people’s concerns, to share what we intended to do.
And, now that we’re back this week, two Committees — Education and Labor under Bobby Scott’s leadership will be marking up H.R. 3; Energy and Commerce under Frank, Chairman Frank Pallone, will be marking up H.R. 3. And, Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Neal, Chairman Neal, will be having a hearing on the bill this week and marking it up next week.
So, we’re really going down a path of passing legislation that will be transformative in the lives of the American people for what it will save them, what it will save the taxpayer as well. It might be interesting – do you know that in the course of this past week or so, the Congressional Budget Office reported that H.R. 3 will save taxpayers $345 billion on the Medicaid Part D piece alone and that it will – and the Office of the Actuary reported that drug negotiations and Medicare inflation rebates will save households $158 billion and private businesses $48 billion from between 2020 and 2029. So, we're very, very proud of the savings that it will be for people in their individual lives, for businesses and for the taxpayer.
It's how we spend that money. Some of it will be used for reinvesting into benefits, making that Medicare a more substantial benefit. Some of it will be for innovation and research at the National Institutes of Health. And, some will be for, as I said, for more benefits, whether it's dental, visual, hearing, whatever with Medicare. I mentioned that, but there are other considerations as well. The Committees, as they mark up the bill, will make those proposals. The amendment process on the Floor will take us to another point, and whether there are other ways we may want to invest some of that money for the benefit of America’s working families and for innovation and research.
Earlier today, some of you were with us when we had the announcement of Chairman Bobby Scott’s College Affordability Act, strong legislation to make higher education more affordable, expanding opportunity, improving access to quality education.
This week, as all through the break, and continuing this week we've been working on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. We hope to be on a path to yes. We're still waiting on assurances about enforceability in it because you can have all the good provisions in the world, but if you can't enforce them, you're just having a conversation.
So, there are some of the same concerns we have about the U.S.-China relationship: are they really going to honor any commitments that they make? Buying farm products, that’s good. But what about the other considerations that hurt America’s manufacturing base and the rest? So, we will see what that is. It seems to me it was a small bill.
In terms of guns, as I said to you earlier, this was a bullet. I was in Florida – I was all over the country, but when I was in Florida, I received this from Frederica Wilson, my colleague. The bracelets are made with bullets and the color orange, which is the color of gun violence [prevention]. I told the President we're not going away until we get this background check bill passed. But, it is just among the other For The People agenda legislation that we have.
So, legislate, investigate – Mr. Schiff, Mr. Chairman will be here shortly and report on that. I just want to say how proud I am of him and the Members of the Intelligence Committee for being here over the break, for the valuable legislation – investigations that they have done. And, again you'll hear from him momentarily.
In terms of litigation, we have been very successful. And, of course, last Friday we won five decisions in our favor in terms of Congress's authority under the Constitution. And, today, another decision came down in our favor in relationship to emoluments. You probably had that information on your phones.
But, again, another recognition that our Founders had very deep suspicion about foreigners interfering in our government and, again, in our elections. And the Emoluments Clause was put there specifically for that purpose, to protect us from any influence of foreign governments. So, the fact that we’d be here, in an inquiry that relates to the President asking a foreign government to help the President in his re-election by granting or withholding the timing of military assistance that had been voted on by the Congress is just – it has so many violations in it.
It undermines our national security. We were sending that military assistance because of Ukraine needing that vis-a-vis Russia. All roads seem to lead to Putin with the President though, isn’t it so? And then, when we talk about undermining the integrity of our elections, that's wrong. And, when you're talking about violating the President's oath of office to protect, defend and preserve the Constitution of the United States to the best of his ability, that's the presidential oath – to the best of his ability. Well, go with that.
In any event, the rulings were – that we won last week – three of them were against the President's hateful public charge rule from taking effect, a ruling against the President's sham national emergency declaration to build his wasteful border wall, a ruling in the Mazars case, which was led by Chairman Cummings of the Oversight Committee that reaffirms Congress's authority and responsibility to conduct oversight and consider legislation on behalf of the American people. And the court ruled the following in that case: ‘Contrary to the President's arguments, the Committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena [and] Mazars must comply.’ So, again, five victories on Friday, one today in terms of the emoluments, but that just happened.
We just had a meeting with our Caucus to be brought up-to-date on where we are on our legislative agenda. As I mentioned, we're legislating, we're litigating, we're investigating and leading that for us is our very distinguished Chair of the Intelligence Committee, Mr. Schiff, who's just completed voting and will join us here. The Speaker doesn’t vote unless it’s a tie, so I have that luxury.
Unless you be any questions about our legislative agenda?
Q: Can you address the Turkey sanctions bill?
Speaker Pelosi. The which one?
Q: You spoke to Senator Graham about a Turkey sanctions bill, to deter their incursion into Syria? You had a statement with Leader Schumer saying that –
Speaker Pelosi. We spoke about some sanctions bills and also about having legislation, a Joint Resolution – House, Senate – bipartisan, to oppose the President's decision about Syria.
Hopefully, we will take some of that up this week and Mr. Elliot Engel is leading the way for us under the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The – I’m hopeful that the – I mean, I think Senator Graham kind of fell back a little bit. I don't know, his language got a little weaker. I don't know what happened with the White House, but hopefully he's still where he was. In the conversation that we had, is that we would have a bipartisan bill to oppose the President’s terribly dangerous decision and that we would have legislation with strong sanctions in it against Turkey.
The President gave the green light to Turkey to go in and commit this humanitarian disaster unto the Kurds, making us an untrustworthy ally. And then had a wet noodle for his sanctions, which just were not up to the task.
So, that's where we are.
Excuse me, Mr. Chairman.
Q: The White House said it's not cooperating in part because there hasn't been a vote to formalize this impeachment inquiry. Why not hold a vote and call the White House's bluff?
Chairman Schiff. I'll let the Speaker respond to that, but, you know I think the Constitution is very clear. The House will have the sole power of impeachment. There's no court that's going to find otherwise. And I think the Republicans know it, but they don't want to discuss the President's conduct. They would much rather discuss process, because they can't defend the President's conduct. And every time they're asked, you see just how difficult, how indeed impossible it is to justify the unjustifiable.
Speaker Pelosi. As the distinguished Chairman said, there's no requirement that we have a vote and, so, at this time we will not be having a vote and I'm very pleased with the thoughtfulness of our Caucus in terms of being supportive of the path that we are on in terms of fairness and in terms of seeking the truth, in terms of upholding the Constitution of the United States. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Q: That's a very key point, though. Mr. Chairman said the Constitution is clear about Article I, Section II and III are clear about what bodies have the power of impeachment here. But, that said, when you hear from your Caucus, you're not ready to have a vote yet, why not call the Administration's bluff?
Speaker Pelosi. Why? Because we're not here to call bluffs. We're here to find the truth, to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This is not a game for us. This is deadly serious. And we're on a path that is taking us to a path to truth in a timetable that respects our Constitution.
I remind you that this news broke on September 17th, Constitution Day – Constitution Day. The day our Constitution was adopted in 1787, it broke that the President had violated his oath of office to protect and defend and preserve the Constitution of the United States to the best of his ability. So, we are honoring our responsibilities, we are honoring the Constitution. That’s not what they're doing.
Q: Are you concerned about them trying –
Speaker Pelosi. I'm not concerned about anything. You know they can't — they can't – they have no substance. They can't defend the President. So, they're going to process. We're not going there.
Thank you all very much.