Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Remarks at Press Event on Capitol Steps Ahead of Vote on H.R. 1, the For the People Act

March 3, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats gathered for a press event on the steps of the U.S. Capitol ahead of the House vote on H.R. 1, the For The People Act of 2021.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  We are here to wave the American flag and all that it stands for.  We are so proud of so many of our Members, who have taken this fight for our democracy to the core of the House and across the country.  I want to salute, in particular, our Chairman John Sarbanes, who has been such a leader over the years in fighting for our democracy.

[Applause]

You’ll hear from him momentarily.

Zoe Lofgren, the Chair of the committee of jurisdiction, the House Administration Committee, who’s worked so hard on this legislation.  You'll hear from them and other Members, but I also want to acknowledge Terri Sewell, who has an important part of this bill in H.R. 4, which is the Voting Rights Act.

[Applause]

So, here we are, set on the Floor.  This reminds me of what it must have felt like at Valley Forge.  Everything is at stake.  We must win this race, this fight for this bill.  Because it – at the same time as we are gathering here to honor our democracy, across the country over 200 bills are being put together, provisions they’re putting forward, to suppress the vote, to suppress the vote.

How could it be?  How do we pledge allegiance to the flag in this Capitol, this Temple of Democracy, while at the same time supporting voter suppression across the country?

So, what we are doing in this fight that we're engaged in is to empower the people.  This is called the For The People bill.  And in doing so, we combat big, dark, special-interest money in politics and amplify the voice of the American people.

We fight foreign interference in our elections, foreign interference in our elections.  We expand voting rights.  We fight political gerrymandering and we crack down on corruption.

The bill, as Mr. Sarbanes says, caffeinates every other issue because it gives people confidence that if we come down on the side of the people's interests, not the special interest, we will be able, we will be able to have policies that are For The People, policies to help us Build Back Better to end a pandemic and address economic disparities and gun violence, by promoting gun violence prevention, which we hope to do shortly, to have a national reckoning on racial injustice and to serve – and to address the surging climate crisis, just to name a few issues that are affected.  And yes, to raise the minimum wage, just to address a few issues that are affected by big, dark money weighing in in the Capitol.

So, today Members of Congress will have a choice.  They will have a choice to vote for the people's interest and expanding the voices of the American people or to vote with the special interest in further empowering big, dark money, which suffocates the system.

The person who has done so much to give us that choice today is the Chair of the [Democracy Reform] Task Force that brings us this For The People, H.R. 1, of primary importance to us, John Sarbanes from the great state of Maryland.