Pelosi Remarks at Media Stakeout Following White House Meeting
Speaker Pelosi. It is cold out here, and the temperature wasn't much warmer in the Situation Room. Our meeting did not last long.
But it is so sad that in a matter of hours, or just a few days, many people – federal workers – will not be receiving their paychecks, and what that means in their lives is tragic in terms of their credit rating, paying their mortgage, paying their rent, paying their car payment, paying their children’s tuition and the rest.
The President seems to be insensitive to that. He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money, but they can't. But they can't – and we think that the collateral damage that he is causing by – well, I’m going to yield to the Leader to talk about that.
I will say this, if you don't understand financial insecurity, then you would have a policy that takes pride in saying, ‘I'm going to keep government shut down for months or years unless you totally agree to my position.’
I yield to the Leader.
Leader Schumer. Unfortunately, the President just got up and walked out. He asked Speaker Pelosi, ‘Will you agree to my wall?’ She said no and he just got up and said ‘then we have nothing to discuss’ and he just walked out.
Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way, and he walked out of the meeting.
I asked him to open up the government. That tomorrow, so many people will have trouble paying their mortgages, paying their bills, dealing with situations when they don't get paid, and I said, ‘Just why won't you do that, and we'll continue to discuss. We're willing to discuss anything,’ and he said ‘If I open up the government, you won't do what I want.’ That’s cruel, that’s callous and that is using millions of innocent people as sort of pawns and it was wrong.
And then a few minutes later, he sort of slammed the table, and when Leader Pelosi said she didn't agree with the wall, he just walked out and said, ‘We have nothing to discuss.’
He said it was a waste of his time. That is sad and unfortunate.
We want to come to an agreement. We believe in border security. We have different views, we’ve already offered the president our proposals that sat on his desk for several weeks.
But this was really, really unfortunate and in my judgement, somewhat unbecoming of a presidency.
Q: Did he say anything about the national emergency?
Speaker Pelosi. No, he didn't talk about that, but what I will say is that one of the obstacles that we have to an agreement is a stipulation of fact. What the President is claiming to be the situation at the border is not solved by a wall.
We have been for border security and we take our oath to protect and defend the American people very seriously. And we have suggestions about how we can do it better than a wall in recognition of what challenge is there from an immigration and drugs et cetera coming into our country.
And that is what is sad. So I said to him, ‘Mr. President, the evidence of what’s happening there does not support the crisis you describe and therefore the solution you suggest. Because we have a better idea of how to keep our country safe and it isn’t a wall.’
Q: Madam Speaker, what is the breaking point for you?
Leader Hoyer. Before you ask more questions, I want to make a point. This is not a partisan difference, this is a policy difference. And I suggested in the White House – in the Situation Room – in the last meeting, that every time we have a policy difference shutting down the government is the wrong thing to do. It is taking hostages to accomplish your objective and hurting people in the process.
Now I’ve got a list here of six Senators and the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee of the House of Representatives. I will only read you one. Michael McCaul from the state of Texas: ‘You have to understand a 30-foot concrete wall is a very expensive proposition and there are other things we can being doing technology-wise to make it smart border, more effective and cost efficient.’ That’s Michael McCaul, Republican Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives.
This is not a partisan difference, this is a policy difference. And it is unacceptable to put 800,000 people at risk. 38 million people on food stamps, millions of people who are expecting to get a refund on their taxes, people who want to use the national parks, people who want to get farm assistance in the Farm Bill. That is why we have four bills on the Floor that we will send to the United States Senate.
Now, I want to read you one more quote. ‘Of course not,’ when asked if you think you should shut down government. ‘Of course not,’ he said, ‘Remember me? I'm the guy that gets us out of shut downs. It's a failed policy.’
Mitch McConnell, 2014, CNN. It is a failed policy and we ought to stop it.