Floor Speech on H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act

November 19, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his extraordinary leadership.  He and other Chairs have brought us to a moment in history on the Floor of the House today, when we can do something of significance For The People.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Madam Speaker, with confidence in the vision of President Biden – and associating myself with the inspiring and informative comments of the distinguished Chairman, Mr. Neal, with our distinguished Democratic Leader, Mr. Hoyer, the Democratic Whip last evening – and with respect to those who work in this Capitol, and as a courtesy to my colleagues, I will be brief. 

[Applause]

In his remarks, our Democratic Leader, Mr. Hoyer, talked about the pride we take in telling our children and our grandchildren that we were here, present to pass the Build Back Better legislation and what it means for future generations.  Whip Clyburn talked about the three legs of the Biden platform: the Rescue package; the BIF, the Infrastructure and Jobs bill; and, now, the Build Back Better, the infrastructure for our future.  Chairman Neal quoted Daniel Webster and spoke of our responsibilities to the people. 

In that spirit, Madam Speaker, I proceed by saying: under this Dome, for centuries, Members of Congress have stood exactly where we stand to pass legislation of extraordinary consequence in our nation's history and for our nation's future.  In the original House Chamber, now Statuary Hall, where Lincoln served, is Clio, the muse of history.  Clio reminds men and women in these hallowed halls that we are part of history, that our words and actions will face the judgment of history and that we are put – a part of the long and honorable heritage of our democracy. 

With the passage of the Build Back Better Act, we – this Democratic Congress – are taking our place in the long and honorable heritage of our democracy, which – with legislation that will be the pillar of health and financial security in America.  It will be historic in forging landmark progress for our nation.  We talk about history as we look and prepare for the future. 

Much has been said since the distinguished Democratic leadership spoke last evening.  Much has been said on this Floor.  But the facts are these: following the vision of President Biden, guided by the expertise and energy of our Chairs, Members and staff, we have a Build Back Better bill that is historic, transformative and larger than anything we have ever done before.  We are Building Back Better. 

If you are a parent, a senior, a child, a worker, if you are an American, this bill – this bill is for you, and it is better – it's better in terms of health care.  It's better if you are a senior, your cost at the pharmacy will be cut to a fraction, with annual costs capped under Medicare Part D, annual benefit from the Medicare hearing benefit.  It's better if you have diabetes: when you go to the pharmacy, instead of paying hundreds for insulin, you'll pay no more than $35 per month. 

[Applause]

And it's better for all Americans.  We are halting Big Pharma's outrageous price hikes and, in addition to that, we are dramatically lowering health care costs, under the Affordable Care Act.  We are also expanding coverage to millions under the Affordable Care Act, as I mentioned. 

It's better in terms of family care.  If you are a parent, it's better – most families will benefit from child care costs reduced, cut fully in half for most families, and free universal pre-k for every 3- and 4-year-old in America.  

[Applause]

It's better if you are middle income family: you will benefit from expanded Biden Child Tax Cut and paid family and medical leave. 

[Applause]

It's better if you are a caregiver: you will have the respect you deserve and with the benefit of an historic investment of high quality home health care. 

[Applause]

And, it's better for America's working families, with an average of two million jobs created each year over ten years together with the BIF.  Jobs, jobs, jobs.  Four letter word.

[Applause]

And, it's better for climate.  If you want your family to benefit from clean air, clean water, the development of good-paying green jobs for the future and from improved national security, we are meeting the President's vision to cut pollution in half by 2030 and by 100 percent by 2050. 

[Applause]

Creating good-paying jobs – union jobs – and lowering families' energy costs. 

[Applause]

Advancing environmental justice, with a Justice 40 Initiative of President Biden.  And, honoring our commitment to passing on a the better planet.  Our responsibility is always to our children and to the future. 

Last week, our Congressional delegation went to COP26 in Glasgow and affirmed the commitment of this Congress to meet and beat our climate goals.  With this legislation, we achieve this for the children and for Mother Nature.  The Build Back Better Agenda creates jobs, secures tax cuts for the middle class, lowers costs for families while making the wealthiest pay their fair share.  Good-paying jobs, cut taxes for the middle class, lower costs, especially in regards to health care and child care – making wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.  Build Back Better is fully paid for.

[Applause]

It reduces the deficit and grows the economy.  Unlike – and I remind, perhaps I need to remind you.  Unlike the Republican Tax Scam, which was passed in the dark of night with the speed of light, with no hearings whatsoever, and it increased the deficit by more than $2 trillion – more than this whole bill does for the American people.  A tax cut for the wealthiest, giving 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent and did nothing to help the American people in terms of jobs, clean air, clean water, affordable health care and the rest – 83 percent to the top one percent.  The dark of night, speed of light.  Don't make me laugh about criticizing this bill.

And Build Back Better will not increase inflation according to the experts, including an array of Nobel Prize-winning economists and Moody’s. 

This victory is possible because of the tireless and value-based leadership of our Chairs, Members and staff of the committees and of Members.  I just want to acknowledge the staff of this institution, the House of Representatives, for their just being there for us over and over again, regardless of when and where.  Thank you so much. 

[Applause]

Build Back Better is a better agenda for workers, for families, for children and for our planet.  If you believe, as I do that, this planet is God’s creation and we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of it, this bill is for you.  But even if you don't share that view – and I think most of us do – if you don’t share that view, we all agree that we have a moral responsibility to our children, to their future, to pass on the planet in a responsible way. 

So, we are proud to be passing this legislation under the leadership of President Joe Biden. 

[Applause]

He was an advocate and a leader in terms of the BIF bill, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill – but did not confine his vision for America to that bill alone.  Today, we have the opportunity to Build Back Better for the American people, For The Children.

I urge a ‘no’ vote and yield back the balance of my time.

Assistant Speaker Clark.  All time for debate has expired.  Pursuant to House Resolution 744, the previous question is –

Speaker Pelosi.  Yea on the legislation, the ‘no’ vote is on the motion to commit – recommit. 

[Applause]