Transcript of Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Today
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference today in the Capitol Visitor Center. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.
This month of January is the month of memorable Wednesdays, as you know. On January 6th, Wednesday, January 6th, our nation witnessed one of the worst assaults on our democracy and our Constitution in the history of the Republic. The following Wednesday, the House impeached Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection that week before. In just one week, he was impeached. And the Wednesday after that, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as the President and Vice President of the United States; history-making in so many respects.
Yesterday, on Wednesday, we celebrated the one week since the inauguration. In that one week, President Biden – starting on day one, President Biden and Vice President Harris have driven a bold agenda for progress and for justice, issuing transformative Executive Actions ranging from crushing the coronavirus, equity, racial equity in so many ways, and again, addressing the climate crisis.
Legislatively – those are Executive Orders. Legislatively, we had been working – I'm very proud of our committees who are diligently working on the coronavirus relief legislation as a basis for reconciliation, should that be needed. We will pass a reconciliation bill under leadership in our House. So, it's John Yarmuth, Mr. Sanders in the Senate, will pass a reconciliation bill, if we need it.
We would hope that we would have bipartisan cooperation to meet the needs of the American people in terms of their health, in terms of distribution in an equitable way of the vaccine, continue with testing, tracing, treatment, et cetera, but also to meet their economic needs. So, we would hope that, but we're not taking any tools off the table should they not.
While our committees are advancing this reconciliation legislation, at the same time, the Executive Actions continue. Today's Executive Action will open up the ACA's enrollment period and take additional steps to expand health care. We're very excited about that because, of course, we're in the middle of the pandemic and we see this as a matter of life and death, very different from the Trump Administration who fought the Affordable Care Act, still don't have the verdict from the Supreme Court, to destroy the lifeline for affordable, quality health care for all Americans. So, we're very excited about that particular health care initiative today, in addition to the others that the President has put forth in relationship to the coronavirus.
Again, again, we are preparing for the impeachment – well, we have impeached the President, but we're preparing for the case. I'm very proud of our Managers, led by Jamie Raskin, our distinguished array of Managers working very hard. They continue to prepare for trial before 100 jurors, Members of the United States Senate.
This trial is about the protection of the Constitution and the preservation of our Republic. We will insist upon the integrity and fairness of the proceedings, recognizing the role that the Senate plays in all of this.
No one is above the law, not even a President of the United States, and Trump must be tried and convicted to ensure that no future President will ever think it's okay to incite insurrection, to stop the ascertainment of who the next President of the United States will be by falsely inflaming people, falsely, about the outcome of the election.
In that regard, in terms of security, security, security, which is what we do, protect and defend the Constitution, security, protect the American people is our very first responsibility. And when they come to the Capitol, whether to work as a legislator, a staffer, a journalist, whatever, we want people to be safe.
Later today, I'll be meeting with General Honoré, Russel Honoré, who's leading a security review of the Capitol complex. Updates on the timing, scope and details will be forthcoming. Protecting the Capitol is a matter of protecting our democracy, and the House will not be distracted or delayed from our work that we are doing, again, to crush the virus, to meet the economic needs of the American people, and to do so in a way that is fair and just.
Any questions? Yes, ma'am.
Q: Madam Speaker, I wanted to ask you about Marjorie Taylor Greene. How concerned are you about her past posts, remarks, rhetoric? What would you like to see done about those?
Speaker Pelosi. What I'm concerned about is the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives who is willing to overlook, ignore those statements – assigning her to the Education Committee when she has mocked the killing of little children attending Sandy Hook Elementary School, when she has mocked the killing of teenagers in high school at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. What could they be thinking? Or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing? It's absolutely appalling, and I think that the focus has to be on the Republican leadership of this House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the death of those children.
Not only are they not interested in gun safety and gun violence prevention by passing legislation for background checks legislation, which is overwhelmingly supported in a bipartisan way in the country, but to have someone who would mock, call it a fake – those fake events – is just beyond, it's just beyond any understanding of any regard that the House Republicans would have for the House of Representatives, for the Congress of the United States, and for the heartbreak of the families at Sandy Hook and at Marjory Stoneman High School. It really – at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It's really beyond the pale. You're just going to have to ask them why they thought that that raised itself to the level of something appropriate to do in the Congress of the United States.
Q: Madam Speaker?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes, sir.
Q: Point of clarity on the stimulus. Are you going to bring a budget resolution next week to the House –
Speaker Pelosi. Yes.
Q: Before you start that?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes. We're going to bring a budget resolution to the Floor next week, and then we'll send it over to the Senate. Then if they change it, then we'll take it back and address it. But by the end of the week, we will be finished with the budget resolution, which will be about reconciliation, if needed. I hope we don't need it; but if needed, we will have it.
Q: And one more question. Does Congress have any role in this GameStop stock manipulation issue that's going on in Wall Street right now?
Speaker Pelosi. I understand – interesting, isn't it? I understand that the Administration is taking a look, the SEC is taking a look at what that is, but we'll all be reviewing it. But interesting, it's interesting, yeah.
A completely different – you had two questions. That was not considered a followup, would you say?
Q: Just to follow on security, you had 30‑plus Members of the House send you and the Minority Leader a letter asking for more money for security. You have Members who are worried about not only their safety at the Capitol, but when they go back to their home districts.
Speaker Pelosi. Yeah.
Q: You have a Member who has talked about executing you.
Speaker Pelosi. Yeah.
Q: And you had a security bulletin yesterday from DHS about ongoing domestic violence threats. What are you saying to your Members about protecting themselves? And what can be done to – for them to feel safe?
Today, when I meet with General Honoré, he is looking at Members here, Members at home, and in between. So, we want to have a scientific approach to how we protect Members. I do believe, and I have said this all along, that we will probably need a supplemental for more security for Members when the enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that Members are concerned about, in addition to what is happening outside.
But I think – again, what’s in that letter. We won't – that's just a matter of communicating to them. That has been done: the MRA, the rest of that. I do think, though, that while it's appropriate that they use their MRA for their security, they shouldn't have to because that money is there for them to meet the needs of their constituents.
In the meantime, to protect themselves and their constituents when they communicate with them, that that is confidential, private and not provocative, but then also for us to have – and that's what we'll be looking at recommendations from General Honoré. We'll have some interim report today, and then he'll continue his work as we go forward. But it's very important.
Q: You've been the subject of the threats. That comes with the job of being Speaker. Many of your Members, not necessarily, some of them feel like they're targets now. What do you say to your Caucus, your fellow House Members?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, what we're saying is that we're going to approach it in a way that will truly protect them, that the issues they raised in their letter have, by and large, been in effect. So, they may be relieved to hear that.
They'll be hearing also from the Sergeant-at-Arms today. He will – and you'll see his letter, talking about how their further – their protection is further enhanced by certain initiatives that were taken. And, as I said, General Honoré is looking to see what really will work in terms of their service here, their service at home, their transportation in between. But I call to your attention the Sergeant-at-Arms’s letter because it will be more specific about air marshals, et cetera.
But this is very, very important. It shouldn't be, it shouldn't be that not only is the President of the United States inciting an insurrection, but keeps fanning the flame endangering the security of Members of Congress to the point that they're even concerned about Members in the House of Representatives being a danger to them.
Q: Speaker Pelosi?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes, ma'am.
Q: What exactly do you mean when you say that the enemy is within? What exactly are you saying?
Speaker Pelosi. It means that we have Members of Congress who want to bring guns on the Floor and have threatened violence on other Members of Congress.
Yes, sir, back there.
Q: Madam Speaker, do you believe that the President can get a fair and complete trial that lasts only one week?
Speaker Pelosi. Of course, of course. And that's what our system is about. I don't know how long it will take. It depends on the response that he will make, but it will be a fair trial and respectful of the role that the Senate plays now that it goes over there. Yeah, I do.
Q: Madam Speaker, on LGBTQ issues, the President campaigned on signing the Equality Act into law within the first 100 days in office. When will you hold a vote on the legislation?
Speaker Pelosi. We're – I thank you for that question. This is such an exciting piece of legislation for us. We passed it in the last Congress, no success in the Senate. It went to Mitch McConnell's graveyard, the ‘Grim Reaper.’ But I'm optimistic about it because I do think we will get strong bipartisan support in the House and in the Senate. We're working with Mr. Cicilline, the author of the bill, for when we will roll it out with him and Mr. Merkley, the Senator, and then we will again calendar it. It will be a – it's an early priority for us, H.R. 5. And, again, it's about ending discrimination.
I'm very pleased with what President Biden has done so far, especially pleased about eliminating the prohibition on trans people from serving in the military. That too, I think, was a triumph for decency and justice in our country. But some other initiatives that he took about contracting and this or that, it's really, it's amazing that we would even have to do such things.
But we're particularly proud of the Equality Act because it's so comprehensive. And, again, ending discrimination in the workplace and every other aspect of life, not only is good for the LGBTQ community, for our whole society, but also for the businesses that want the very best. They should be hiring without any concern of complaint about the diversity that they are introducing into there. That's why we think we'll have strong bipartisan support. We think the business community will help us in the Senate, yeah.
Q: Madam Speaker?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes, sir.
Q: On the impeachment –
Speaker Pelosi. No. Sir, I said – Yes, sir.
Q: Do you believe that – you say reconciliation is a backstop, that you would rather have a bipartisan bill?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes, always.
Q: You're – it sounds like you're not hope – you're not optimistic that that will happen. Is that correct?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, we have to be ready. I do think that we have more leverage getting cooperation on the other side if they know we have an alternative as well. But I would think, if we're talking about additional funding for vaccines to be – not only production but their distribution, if we're talking about putting money into the pockets of the American people with the direct payments, if we're talking about supporting state and local government so that they're able to implement all these things, open our schools, our health care workers, our police and fire, first responders, our teachers, our teachers, our teachers, transportation, sanitation, food workers, I would hope that the Republicans would be supportive of that. Many of the localities that will benefit have Republican mayors and Republican county executives, so I would hope that that – we would be able to do it in a bipartisan way.
And, again, I've said if there's an argument that needs to be made to people that we need more funding for the vaccines, more distribution resources, more of the vials and syringes and all that make this happen, I think many of the Republicans would be supportive of that, and I hope so. But we cannot not have it happen. We have to act. And that is why I said we want it to be bipartisan, always, but we can't surrender if they're not going to be doing that. Instead, we will pass it.
Thank you all very much. Thank you.