Pelosi Remarks at Bill Enrollment Photo Opportunity for The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

April 23, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a bill enrollment photo opportunity for H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good evening.  

Today was an historic day for us, to once again to pass our, now, fourth bipartisan legislation to address the coronavirus crisis.

We’re very pleased with the vote, 388-5, 388-5, passing under suspension and a recorded vote.  We had masterful leadership of Richie Neal managing the bill on the Floor for us, and he disciplined many of us to stick our – to keep our remarks to 30 seconds.  So, I will use 30 seconds to acknowledge the greatness of our leadership of our committees who made this important event possible, and then take 30 seconds to comment on it. 

Congresswoman Waters, the Chair of the Financial Services Committee, just was remarkable.   She brought her depth of knowledge of the financial industry as well as her deep values about making everyone have access. 

And Nydia Velázquez, Chair of the Small Business Committee, just a champion.  One of the first women in Congress to ever serve as a Chair of a full committee and she brought all of that experience, knowledge, judgment and values to this legislation. 

It was really remarkable to see the two of them interact, two powerful women in Congress making a tremendous difference.  And what was important was they took a giant step in loosening that hard grip of disparity of access to credit in our country.  But they made something very special happen to try to have that crumble.  And I think that's very important for the American people. 

Frank Pallone cannot be here, but he and his staff were helpful for us with the hospital and testing parts of the bill.  So, you know that what the bill does – two weeks ago was proposed on a Thursday, on the Floor of the Senate, that we would have legislation that $250 [billion], that was it, nothing else and that's it. 

For a week and a half, that was the position of the Administration, the Republicans in the Senate, until this past weekend when, finally, they saw the light that we could do much more for our small businesses.  So $60 billion in a set-aside for, shall we say, the underbanked: women, minorities, veterans, Native Americans, rural folks.  People who didn't have banking relationships, but big credit needs.  Another $60 billion in loans and grants for small businesses, all of small businesses.  And then $100 billion, $100 billion for hospitals and testing.  Quite a remarkable feat. 

So we had $250 [billion] and $220 [billion], $470 [billion] today, but all of it in the interest of job retention and, first and foremost, to address the key issue of health: testing, testing, testing, contact tracing, the initiatives that are necessary to be the key to opening up our economy. 

So, with that, that was a long 30 seconds, I know, I yield to our Leader in the House to see if he can do better than I in sticking to the 30 seconds. 

Thank you, Richie Neal for your help in all four of these bills.  I know you are ready for our heroes bill and address the needs of our health care workers, fire workers and transportation workers and the next who are on the payroll of our state and local governments.  And that will be the centerpiece of our next legislation. 

With that, I’m pleased to yield to the distinguished Leader – distinguished Democratic Leader of the House, Mr. Hoyer.

***

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you.  Thank you very much. 

As I am to sign this historic legislation, I want to acknowledge the cooperation we had from the distinguished Republican Leader, Mr. McCarthy, I wish that he could have been here now, but I do want to thank him and Members of the – all the Members of Congress. 

But I want to especially thank our House Democratic Caucus, which was very unified.  As you saw, the diversity of our leadership on the committees made a difference in the policy and as I always say, our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power.  And that's how we were getting the crossing the threshold, more credit [for] underbanked businesses in our country and, also, a testing piece that was very strong in terms of asking for a strategic national plan to address testing and to do so, keeping data as to how different communities are affected.  So, again, diversity playing in here in terms of policy that now we will act upon.  

And we’ll act up on it, after the bill is signed by the President.  In order to send it to him, it is my honor to sign it. 

But I do so very sadly and prayerfully.  Maxine learned today that her sister has been diagnosed with the virus.  Our distinguished colleague, Madam Chair Velázquez herself was diagnosed with this.  It could happen to anybody at any time.  We heard on the Floor about a five-year-old girl who died from the virus.  The numbers are staggering: nearly 50,000 dead, 900,000 diagnosed, but every single incidence of it strikes home to some family and to each of us, as well, for them. 

So prayerfully and sadfully, we always thank our first responders, our health care workers, all of the – our teachers, our transit workers, our food workers as well.  Everyone who has kept us together in these few weeks.  But our hearts and prayers go out to those who have lost their loved ones at this very, very sad time. 

And so, in sadness, as well as with some satisfaction of what we have accomplished, I'm very honored to sign this legislation. 

This is called the enrollment ceremony.  The legislation has to be signed in the House, by the Speaker of the House before we send it to the President of the United States.  So, I want to sign it really big.

[Applause]

We can’t shake hands, but I’ll thank you, Leader Hoyer.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.