Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi Remarks at Media Stakeout Following White House Meeting  

January 4, 2019
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks with fellow Democratic Congressional leaders following a meeting at the White House.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good afternoon.  We just completed a lengthy and sometimes-contentious conversation with the President.  We agree that we will continue our conversations but we all recognize, on the Democratic side, that we really can’t resolve this until we open up government and we made that very clear to the President.

Services are being withheld from the American people, paychecks are being withheld from people who serve the needs of the American people, and our border security will suffer if we do not resolve this issue.  We are committed to keeping our borders safe.  That has always been our principle: to honor the oath of office that we take to protect and defend our country and our Constitution.  We can do that best when government is open.  We’ve made that clear to the President.  Mr. Leader.

Senator Schumer. Basically same thing as the Speaker said.  The bottom line is very simple: we made a plea to the President once again.  Don't hold millions of Americans, hundreds of thousands of workers hostage.  Open up the government and let's continue the discussions.

I pointed out to him, for instance, a call I got in my office this morning.  A fire dispatcher from upstate New York, his wife is pregnant, signed a mortgage, can't get the F.A.A., the F.H.A. to approve it now because the government is closed.  This kind of situation is happening in millions of instances across the United States in one way or another.

So, we told the President we needed the government open.  He resisted.  In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time.  Months or even years.  The discussion then – we discussed a bunch of issues, as the Leader said, they were somewhat contentious.  We’ll continue discussing, of course, but it's very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government.

Q:  Speaker Pelosi, did you make any progress on a dollar figure of what the President wants or what you all want from him? 

Speaker Pelosi.  No.  How do you define progress in a meeting?  When you have a better understanding of each other's position?  When you eliminate some possibilities?  If that's a judgment, we made some progress.

[Reporter crosstalk]

Senator Schumer.  Thank you.