Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Remarks at Press Conference on Reintroduction of the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act

May 13, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, Congressman Jason Crow, Chairman Adam Smith and members of Vanessa Guillén’s family for a press event on the reintroduction of the bipartisan, bicameral I Am Vanessa Guillén Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Let us thank Jackie Speier for her extraordinary leadership.  

[Applause]

Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you, Jackie Speier, for bringing us together.  Your remarks said it all.  I associate myself with your remarks.  I commend you for your dedication and determination on [this] this past year, to make sure we have a chance to vote for legislation, the important legislation: I Am Vanessa Guillén Act.  And I thank you – I thank you for helping us all keep our promise we made a year ago to the family that we would have legislation, and it would make a difference.  Thank you, Jackie Speier, for your leadership in that regard and in so many regards.  

It is – I'm honored to be here with the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.  This is a big honor for all of us.  Sylvia Garcia will be joining us.  She is – Vanessa is her constituent.  Her family are her constituents.  Veronica Escobar, Jason Crow is joining us.  Is Jimmy Panetta – here they are now.  Jimmy Panetta.  Thank you.

And of course we are – the VIPs with us today are Mayra and Lupe and the Guillén family.  Last fall, when we met with the family, we saw their courage in action that turned their pain into progress in Vanessa's memory, which is making a difference.  

The Congress remains heartbroken.  This is a tragedy – it's – just to hear the story and the frustration of it all, that there was a chance to make – stop this from happening, not only to Vanessa, but to others.  We’re heartbroken and outraged at the murder of U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén.

Justice is needed for Vanessa and for the many servicemembers facing an epidemic of sexual harassment and assault in our armed forces, too often in the shadows.  That is why, as Speaker, I'm proud to support Jackie Speier’s I am Vanessa Guillén Act, to stand with victims, survivors and families to combat sexual assault in the military.  

This bipartisan bill overhauls the military’s response to missing servicemembers and reports sexual harassment and assault.  It will make a strong step closer to ensuring that no servicemember or family will ever have to endure such horror.  

This was a natural thing for Jackie because she, Congresswoman Speier, Madam Chair, she's been working on this issue of – just eliminating, fighting sexual harassment and assault in the military in her whole time in Congress from day one.  

Again, last fall, under her leadership, we gave our commitment to Vanessa's family that this important first step to combating sexual assault would come to the House Floor for a vote.  Led by Jackie Speier, we will not stop until we pass the bill and until we finally, fully end this epidemic, in the military, in the workplace and in all places.  

And now it's my honor to yield to the champion of America's troops and our security.  He helps us honor our oath to protect and defend, our distinguished Chair of the Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, Mr. Chairman.