Pelosi Remarks at Press Event Highlighting The Heroes Act’s Democracy-Saving Voting Provisions on Anniversary of House Passage of the 19th Amendment

May 21, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Members of Congress for a press event marking 101 years since House passage of the 19th Amendment to highlight the vote-by-mail and election security provisions included in House Democrats’ The Heroes Act, which passed the House last week.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good morning, everyone.  

This is our poster of the women Members of Congress. 

Thank you for being with us today.  It is a very special day in the history of our country: 101 years ago today, the Congress, the House of Representatives voted to pass the 19th Amendment.  As you know, that is the Amendment that gives women the right to vote.  Not that they were given because they fought very hard for it, but that success was achieved.  It took another year for it to be, pass the process of ratification and the rest, so in August, we will be observing the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote, but, today, we are honoring what happened in the House of Representatives on this very day. 

And we are very proud of the fact that we have over 100 women in Congress now, over 90 women on the Democratic side.  We made a decision about that a long time ago.  Among them, Carolyn Maloney, who could not be with us, but she has been a champion on all of these issues whether it is the Women's Museum or the Equal Rights Amendment, you name it. The effect of public policy on women in every way and I wanted to salute her, as well as the three chairs of our Women's Caucus – Democratic Women's Caucus: Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California and ongoing Chair, Congresswoman Lois Frankel of Florida.  But we have many in this picture, many chairs of committees, full – chairs of full committees.  And we are very proud of the contribution of women in the Congress of the United States, dating back to 101 years ago, when the House took the initiative to go forward.  

I am very honored to be joined here by Eleanor Holmes Norton, Representative from the District of Columbia, Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland – we’re all spaced appropriately – of Maryland and Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands.  Welcome to all of you. 

Okay, we are in a challenging times, and again, we have the privilege of celebrating the right to vote.  As Speaker, again, I am proud to serve with over 100 women in the House. 

Sadly, as we observe this milestone, voting is under assault.  It is both from a systemic national – nationwide campaign of voter suppression and from the coronavirus.  The fear of getting sick threatens some not to go to the polls.  People should not have to choose between voting and preserving their good health and that of their families.  Because no matter what you do when you go out, you bring it home.  Again, no one should be forced to vote for their health or vote. 

In the CARES Act, we put a down payment on $400 million for states to protect the ballot.  In The Heroes Act, we added to that the balance of what we think we need to have voting at home and to protect the ballot.  That would be $3.6 billion.  A small price to pay for our democracy and the good health of Americans going to the polls. 

It will be there to expand vote at home, vote-by-mail, some call it at home, including no-excuse absentee ballots, same-day registration and, again, having polling places available for those who want to participate in-person for whatever reason.  Whether it is questions about the ballot or their ballot and the rest, that they have appropriate timing, placing and the rest for that.  And again, online registration and same-day voter registration, which I mentioned.  This is all very, very important. 

We call on Leader McConnell – we have the Heroes bill, others say he has the zeros bill.  We need this bill for many reasons.  We need it to honor our heroes, protect those who are risking their lives every day to save lives, and at the same time, may lose their job with our state and local, tribal and territorial support in the legislation.  Open our economy with the testing, tracing, treatment and isolation that is in there.  And putting money in the pockets of the American people as we get through this terrible economic challenge.  And, as you see the numbers this morning, matters are even worse. 

Central to so much of it is, we say this is about the lives, the livelihood and the life of our democracy.  Central to the life of our democracy is removing obstacles of participation to voting.  And now even more so, when voting can be a risk to your health, as we saw demonstrated in Wisconsin. 

So, here we are with, again, saluting our women Members of Congress.  Imagine the courage of the suffragists, the courage that they had to make this happen.  It took a long time.  And how proud we are to stand on their shoulders, now, to make public policy for our great country.  And we don't want anything to stand in the way of the right to vote.  

So I have the privilege now of introducing a very special guest.  A leader in our House Democratic Caucus,  a leader of women in the country.  Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is serving her 15th term in the House of Representatives, representing the District of Columbia.  Before her Congressional service, President Jimmy Carter appointed her as the first woman to head the U.S. Equal Opportunity – U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the EEOC, very prestigious, very important. 

Eleanor Holmes Norton came to Congress a national figure, a champion of the civil rights and feminist movements.  She is a tenured professor at the Georgetown University School of Law, where my son went and undergrad, Representative Plaskett – the board member of three Fortune 500 companies.

Congresswoman Norton.  I can’t do that anymore, but I used to.  As a Member of Congress, you can’t be on proper boards.

Speaker Pelosi.  I'm just saying you came to Congress as that, just to say that's why she was named one of the most – 100 most powerful women.  And, then, of course, one of the most powerful women in Washington.  And so the Congressional work of Congressional voting representation has been so much – for the District of Columbia – has been so much a part of what her leadership has been about and so many other things, as well. 

She has led us with her lifelong struggle for equal and civil rights and universal human rights, so it is an honor, on this day when we recognize the 100th anniversary of women – the House voting for women to have the right to vote, for me to recognize someone they would all be very, very proud of: the Representative from the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton.

***

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Eleanor.  And as we have discussed, between us and among us when we are together, we are so proud that women have taken seriously the sacred right of voting and so many women are turning out for elections to vote, so many women to run, so many women to win. 

With that, speaking of the right to vote, I have the privilege of presenting a champion in the Congress of the United States, who has been the author and inspiration, the intellectual leader in the H.R. 1 legislation that we ran on in 2018.  As we said, we are going to – our platform was only three things, one – in 2018 and it continues to be our focal points – one, to lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs and keeping the pre-existing condition benefit as a benefit.  Two – that’s lower health costs, two: bigger paychecks by building the infrastructure of America in a green way.  God bless you. Three, to keep a cleaner government, H.R. 1. 

And, in H.R. 1, there are so many elements about promoting the vote and ending voter suppression, but I want you to hear from the author himself.  He has been a relentless, persistent, dissatisfied advocate and leader on this subject and he commands the respect of not only the Members of Congress on this subject, but so many others out there who care, in a bipartisan way and a nonpartisan way, on how sacred it is to protect the right to vote, Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland. 

***

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Congressman Sarbanes, for your tremendous leadership.  Long before coronavirus you were advocating for H.R. 1, which we did pass, as you said, March of last year.  How even more important it is now.

One of the committees of the jurisdiction for The Heroes Act is the Oversight Committee, Oversight and Reform Committee.  I mentioned Carolyn Maloney earlier who chairs that committee.  It was formerly chaired by our darling Elijah, who is dancing with the angels, now, and we want to be worthy of the legacy that he left us.  But all three of these Members are Members of the Oversight Committee.  And so much of what is in The Heroes Act that relates to the subject we are talking about here is from that committee, not only in terms of voting, but in terms of the postal system. 

The postal system is under threat also by the Administration, from the Administration, and we want to remove all doubt that we support the postal system, which is essential to vote-by-mail.  It is also essential to the health of the American people, because it is – over one billion packages of medicine were delivered to families last year, well before coronavirus.  Much more than one billion.  And 90 percent of the medicines that are needed for veterans, veterans receive by the mail.  So this, the postal issue, is a health issue.  The voting issue is a health issue.  They are connected. 

And a person who serves on that committee is with us.  Another generation of service in the Congress, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett.  She serves with Congresswoman Holmes Norton on the Transportation Committee, so essential to CARES 1.  She serves with her – with the Congresswoman and our distinguished Peter DeFazio on that committee.  On the [Government] Reform Committee – it used to be called that.  Now, it’s called Oversight.  When I served on the committee, it was called Gov Ops, now it is Oversight and Reform.  And then she also serves on the Agriculture Committee: very, very essential in the fight on – all the time, but the fact that there is hunger in America, the Ag Committee was very instrumental in putting the funds in for SNAP, for not only food stamps, but all kinds of other emergency food initiatives as well as just removing all doubt that, as bad as it has been in terms of hunger in America, food insecurity is not going to take us down during this coronavirus cycle. 

So, I'm pleased to yield to another generation of Members.  Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, would you share a few words with us.  And thank you for being with us.

***

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, Congresswoman Plaskett, for your service, your leadership and your words today. 

When we talk about the Postal Service, though, I just want to add one thing.  And that is that the Postal Service’s Board of Governors, bipartisan, all appointed by President Trump, have recommended what we have in the bill, in The Heroes Act for the Postal Service.  The appropriation, taking off restrictions on how they use loans.  Actually, they proposed more.  We will save some for the infrastructure bill that comes next, because it relates to that.  So, again, these are connected. 

This week, I have had three focuses so far.  And that was, we started with the Postal Service the other day.  Yesterday, we focused on food insecurity in America.  Today, we are focusing on the vote. 

Let me just indulge for a moment, my own personal history for a moment.  My father was elected to Congress as a New Deal Democrat many decades ago.  When he was in the Congress, he was Chair of the District of Columbia's Subcommittee of Appropriations.  As such, he was deemed the unofficial mayor of Washington.  They had no mayor, but everything that happened, happened through the Appropriations Committee for the funding.  

So, I come from a tradition and the DNA of home rule, home rule, home rule, and then, of course, it would blossom even further later.  So, it is a thrill for me to be here with Eleanor and my colleagues and having John Sarbanes mention, having the Congresswoman mention the statehood for the District of Columbia, so thank you for your leadership there. 

When my father left Congress – when he was there, speaking of women, he had, on his subcommittee, invited the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, to testify about the conditions in the welfare institutions in Washington, in particularly, Saint Elizabeth’s.  In my office, you will see a picture of him introducing, welcoming Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman leader and the first First Lady ever to testify before Congress.  So, we have that connection before we were ever born I guess, but nonetheless that’s when that happened.  

Then my father left the Congress to become Mayor of Baltimore, when he left to become Mayor, a generation later, Paul Sarbanes took his place in the Congress of the United States, later to become Senator Sarbanes, and when he did, Barbara Mikulski took his place, another great woman leader in our country and after that, Ben Cardin, both going on to the Senate.  After that, John Sarbanes.  So, John Sarbanes represents the district that my father represented and it is an emotional tie, as you can see. 

So, again, we talk about history, but what we love is the fresh recruits, the fresh invigoration of the Congress that John is and that Stacey is and how they are inspiring a whole other generation of leaders to protect the vote, to protect the lives and livelihood of the American people and was acknowledged – thank you, Stacey, Representative Plaskett, for acknowledging the House Admin Committee. 

I want to acknowledge Zoe Lofgren, the Chair of that committee, who did have those hearings, led by Marcia Fudge, around the country.  And then, we did pass Terri Sewell’s Voting Rights Act.  We hope the Senate will do so, as well. 

With that, pleased to answer any questions you may have about how we go forward.  Jared, sorry – Garrett?

Q: I've been called far worse than that. 

[Laughter]

Question on The Heroes Act – there’s a small number of Republican Senators who’ve suggested they should stay through their recess next week to pass something on a relief bill, not necessarily The Heroes Act.  Mitch McConnell has not aimed to go forward on that.  I’m wondering, what do you ascribe his unwillingness to put any other relief measures on the Floor right now?  Do you think he is just trying to stay close to the President?  What’s your thinking on that?

Speaker Pelosi.  Excuse me, if I just may.  I would be happy to come back to that question.  Does anyone have any questions about 101 years since the House – or anything we talked about, the voting rights or the danger that they are in from the President?  Or hopefully they won't be when he sees the response.  Anything on – yes.

Q:  A couple of questions related to voting.  One, as you know, the President has railed against mail, voting by mail.  I wonder if you would respond to what Democrats are thinking along those lines, given the flack that came yesterday?  And then also, in Maryland, as you know, that there has been an issue with problems with ballots actually getting out.  I think the last time the vendor was supposed to send out about 150,000.  This time they have to send out 4 million.  Clearly, there has been a delay.  I’m wondering what your concerns are there – maybe Congressman Sarbanes could also address this – related to getting a number of ballots out to people through the mail, and some of the complications that that raises up because a lot of these states are scrambling, now, because they didn’t mail as much as they did in the past.

Congressman Sarbanes.  Well, on your first question, with respect to the President, I know he does rail against vote-by-mail.  There's no basis for that in fact.  There’s no evidence, no data that suggests voting by mail helps one party versus another. 

Voting by mail is just an opportunity to make it easier for folks out there.  And, in this moment, to make it safer for people.  And, if you look at what the public's appetite is, they want that option.  So I'm not sure why the President would want to get sideways with the broad public in terms of that priority. 

Maryland is experiencing what states across the country are experiencing, which is the challenge of ramping up quickly in this environment to make sure that you deliver the opportunity for the franchise to the public.  And so, we are paying attention to some of the issues that have come up.  I think the state board is doing its best to meet those challenges. 

Some states that have been doing mail for a long time.  You know: Colorado, Oregon, Washington and so forth.  They actually own a lot of the machinery and infrastructure of delivering the vote-by-mail ballot.  Other states are having to get that through vendors in the short-term, and that’s going to present challenges. 

But all of this supports why we are trying to get significant funding out to the states in this moment and get it to them sooner rather than later because they got to build up that infrastructure to deliver and meet the expectation that the public has.  So we are very much looking at Maryland's experience and, for that matter, the experience in other states with special elections and primary elections, as an opportunity for lessons learned heading into the general election season.  But all of it supports the funding that Zoe Lofgren and Marsha Fudge and Nancy Pelosi have worked so hard to get not just into the CARES Act, but now into The Heroes Act.  We have to get those funds out there.

Speaker Pelosi.  When the President criticized Michigan for sending out applications, of course he misrepresented what was going on there, but what’s new? But at the same time, Republican secretaries of state around the country were doing – were engaging in vote-by-mail, vote at home, however you want to call it.  

So, this is, again, for the people.  There’s no need to be afraid of the people and that is just another insecurity that exists there.  And that is why this money is needed.  You’ve asked the exactly right question.  And I think every – yesterday it was all but one.  I think now it may be every one of the states have asked for the money that was in the first bill, have applied for the money that was in the first bill. 

And, of course, the more – the sooner we get it, the more we have, the clearer it will be because we are giving people an option that we want to be able to deliver on.  But if they don't support the resources, then they have been stood in the way of voting, which is in keeping with their voter suppression in general. 

Any other questions on voting or women having the right to vote?

Garrett?  Yes, sir. 

Q:  Proxy voting, but I can wait for Garrett.

Speaker Pelosi.  Okay, we will go to Garrett.

Q:  To what do you ascribe the Majority Leader’s unwillingness to move forward on any additional relief package despite the desire of some in his conference to do so?

Speaker Pelosi.  I think he will.  I think he will.  I think he wants to put some things on the table.  Right now, but right now, right now he has decided to obstruct, to obstruct us – to get the support we need to give to our health care workers who need PPE. 

He is obstructing the will of our people to open the economy by having testing, tracing, treatment and isolation where necessary.  He's obstructing our ability to give states and localities, and territories and tribal entities the resources they need to stay open. 

These people are risking their lives to save lives, and now they may lose their jobs because of the opportunity – the money they have to spend on the coronavirus but also the opportunity lost, the revenue lost because of the virus. 

So this is – we have broad support across the country, Democratic and Republican, leaders of towns and the rest, in the way the bill is.  Go to speaker.gov/heroesact and find out how your community, your state, your city, you town, your county benefits from this legislation.  And you will see why there is such broad support.  You may not to know it yet, but they will come to the table, and they will do so because it is absolutely essential. 

Our bill is focused, disciplined and what is necessary to defeat this virus, but also to honor our heroes so that they can keep the jobs that are helping save lives in our country, while we put money in the pockets of those who are losing their jobs through no fault of their own.  Also, to, again, support voting rights and doing voting at home as well as supporting the Postal Service in order to do that. 

Also, to feed the American people, that moms are saying that children under twelve are at the highest rate of food insecurity ever.  And it has always been a problem in our country, now even exacerbated by the coronavirus.  So, it’s about feeding people, feeding.  Aren't they ashamed to say, ‘I don't want,’ as they have in the past few bills, ‘I don't want to spend money to feed people in America?’  Our children who are losing their meals because they are not going to school, and sometimes that is the only place that they get a meal.  Our seniors who depend on Meals on Wheels and other entities for food.  

So, I don't know.  You would have to ask him why he doesn't want to feed the American people, that he doesn't want to put money in the pockets of the American people, why he doesn't want to honor our heroes in this fight against the virus and why he does not want to defeat COVID-19, the enemy of the American people?

With that – oh, yes sir?

Q:  Speaker Pelosi, I was wondering how confident you were that proxy voting would work in the House next week, and then also how many Members do you expect to take advantage of the proxy voting?

Speaker Pelosi.  That I don't know, but it is – it has been very well planned, thought out and the rest.  I salute Steny Hoyer, our distinguished Leader as well as Zoe Lofgren and Jim McGovern – the Chair of the Rules Committee and the Chair of the House Administration for the work they did negotiating with the Republicans, trying to find common ground with them, taking some of their suggestions, but they just don't support proxy voting. 

But that doesn't mean we’re not going to be doing the work that the American people sent us here to do.  And if some people should stay home because of a health issue, thank you for not sharing.  We’d rather you do stay home.  And, if the transportation is a challenge in that regard, we want their voices to be heard.  So the planning that has gone into it has been very smart. 

Yesterday, I sent out the letter in response to the declaration by the House – the Capitol Physician, that says that we will start the clock ticking on this, it’s a 45 day clock, ticking on this when we come back next week.

Yes, sir.

Q:  Good morning.  It is a bit weird to see the Capitol building so empty

Speaker Pelosi.  Excuse me one second.  My colleagues, you are welcome to stay through the other stuff here, but I know you are all very busy.  I'm honored that you are here, but I don't know where we are going with some of this, so. 

[Laughter]

Sometimes I have been known to be in a place where you may not want to be. 

[Laughter]

Thank you, John Sarbanes.  Thank you, Stacey Plaskett.  Thank you, Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Q:  I hope it’s not my French accent that made them leave.

[Laughter]

It is a bit weird to see the Capitol building so empty with so few people.  When do you expect it to be back to normal in that building, and what is important for you so the House keeps on working for Americans?  

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we will be back in full force when we are able to because of testing, tracing and treatment.  We are very concerned about the health and well-being, not only of the Members of Congress, that is the smallest number involved, but of the press, of the staff, of the custodians, the people – thousands of people manage this Capitol so it is ready for visitors to come witness democracy in action.  So, I couldn't possibly answer that question.  No sooner than we are ready, but we are constantly preparing for that time. 

But science will be the answer.  When science says to us, you have tested enough people to have enough of a measure of how challenging this is and therefore able to treat, to trace and treat those who need to be treated.  Then, we will be closer to that time.  I certainly hope it will be soon.  What was the second part?

Q:  What is important for the House ­

Speaker Pelosi.  Of course, for the House of Representatives, the People's House.  We have been working.  There is a great deal of communication in terms of our duties as Representatives to be in contact with the people we represent so that we can truly speak for them.  But in addition to that, committees have varying degrees of hearings, whether they call them forums or roundtables, whatever it is, communicating.   

We hope – we need – we have some that timetables we must honor for the appropriations bill.  We have a timetable for the defense authorization bill.  We have – we’re just so ready to go forward with infrastructure, to build America in a green way as we go forward and create good-paying jobs as we, again, grow our economy in a very wise way. 

So, again, we have a full agenda that people have been working on for a long time.  So, it’s a continuation of that but also, an intensification.  So, with the proposal that’s gone out, it is not just about proxy voting, which we will be prepared for, it is also about how committees can do their work virtually, in person or in a hybrid way.  Because some of the witnesses might not be able to show up even if the Members are there, so it may have to be hybrid.  That is what we have been working on. 

I'm very proud of the enthusiasm of everyone to come back, but again, I can tell you, in terms of my own travel on commercial airlines, it is a challenge, so we have to recognize that.  But, I'm very proud of the courage of our Members and the courage to vote for The Heroes Act.  They said to me, ‘You go big.’  We went big, but not any bigger than is necessary.  In fact, we could do more and probably will have to depending on what comes in our economy and in meeting our health needs.

But again, this is about honoring those who are risking their lives to save lives by supporting state and local, territorial and tribal, as well as testing. 

Did you see the Columbia report that came out that if one week sooner, one week sooner we had had it locked down, as other countries had – Korea and the United States had the first fatality, casualty – the first – I don’t know if it’s the first case or the fist death, but the death the same day.  They locked down.  They lost like over 300 people in Korea, just over 300 people?

We waited a couple weeks.  The report further says if we had done it when Korea did, we would have saved well over 50,000 of those lives.  Just one week was well into the 30,000s of people who would not have died.  

So, we just really have to be smart and strategic.  That is what our bill does when we say testing, tracing, treatment, isolation.  It’s smart.  It’s strategic.  It has a vision.  It has a goal.  It has a timetable.  It has milestones.  It has thresholds.  A plan.  A strategic plan to quantify what this is, be able to trace and treat so that we can defeat this virus.  It isn't what we have done, but putting aside how we got here, this is about going forward, and we want to do so in the most science-based way to get the job done.

Q:  Just one quick question.  Unless somebody else has one.

Speaker Pelosi.  Did you have a question, dear?

Q:  Since this is traditionally a holiday weekend, obviously very different, but given what you just said related to deaths and the fact that the country is continuing to reopen, do you have a message to the public as people get ready to – a lot of people are planning to travel actually.  And they’ve shown studies of people going from state to state.  I’m wondering if you just have any concerns about that or what your thoughts are, to the public, as they get ready to head into a holiday weekend?

Speaker Pelosi.  I thank you for that question, because everybody wants out.  For all the love that we have for each other and the rest, we can't even see each other.  I can't wait until I can hug my grandchildren again, but that will have to wait. 

I will just say people have to be very careful.  They should wear masks.  These people who don't wear masks, the mask is not to protect you.  The mask is to protect other people.  So when you don’t wear the mask, what are you saying?  I don't care about you, but I hope you are wearing a mask and care about me.  The masks are very, very important.  Spacing, very important. 

So, there could be ways for people to engage.  I do not recommend any large public events.  I think that is dangerous still.  But, there could be a way to have discipline, distance and masks, handwashing, all of those things.  And there are ways to, again, have a family meal over the Memorial weekend, keeping our distances and not double dipping into the guacamole.  That would not be a good idea. 

[Laughter]

By the way, it is never a good idea. 

[Laughter]

No double dipping, but especially – maybe we will all pick up very good habits from all of this.  But, you know, we all respect the enthusiasm that people have to get out and get some fresh air and the rest.  But they should not do it, rationalizing that does not matter how they do it.  It does matter, and that is why I would hope that the President and the Vice President would wear a mask. 

They don't wear a mask, why not?  Other people should, so they should set an example.  They have doctors around them all the time to administer to their various needs.  But everybody else does not have that.  It’s nothing that has any example to it that is good for stopping the spread of this.

A lot of people, as you know, many of the people that are dying are older or predisposed.  We are predisposed.  The fact is – and that’s very sad.  My great fear is what you bring home to the children.  Again, we want to take every precaution.  

I will end by just telling a story that one of my colleagues, Rashida Tlaib, told on the Floor when we were passing CARES 1.  She showed the picture of a beautiful little girl, five years old.  She died of coronavirus.  She died of coronavirus.  Her father is a firefighter.  Her mother is a police officer.  They weren't tested, and then, of course, now, they are big advocates for testing.  This little girl, five years old, can you just imagine if that happened in your home?  It's one thing to lose a parent, okay, that is important.  It’s terrible.  It’s awful, but as one in that category, I would rather me, of course, than my grandchildren.  I’m sure any grandparent would say that.

But the responsibility we all have to our family members, people who take home whatever experience they had to their children or to their parents, grandparents, whatever, and the consequences could be some that are very sad for our country. 

Chuck Schumer and I wrote to the President this morning.  Did that go out?  We wrote to the President this morning and said that, as we observe Memorial Day, we recognize that is a dedicated day reserved to honor our men and women in uniform who were willing to make the supreme sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  We want to be respectful of that.  But, over this weekend, or whenever it happens that we reach 100,000 deaths, that we want the flags across the country in public buildings to be flown at half staff.  That was our request, and I hope the President will honor it. 

One death we carry in our hearts.  100,000 deaths, our hearts have to be full of love to always remember them.  It’s a scar on our nation.  Again, forgetting how we got here, let's make sure we can minimize what happens in the future, but at the same time, I think the American people – I hear from my own constituents and from my colleagues, have a much-needed expression of grief and recognition for the loss that it is to our country. 

We keep talking about John Donne, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.’  Every man’s death diminishes me, because I am mankind.  He said man.  Every person’s death diminishes me, because I am man.  For whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.  This is a tremendous loss for our country. 

So, let's fight it.  Testing, tracing, treatment, isolation, with a plan, strategic, definite.  Going into underserved communities, which are fearful to come forward because of the cost that might be incurred.  To remove all doubt that is in our nation’s history that everyone have access to that, to that testing. 

So, happy 101 years since the House of Representatives voted for women to have the right to vote.  California soon followed.  We voted a year in advance of the country.  I have to say, proudly, now that my colleagues are not here.  Not to – I don’t know.  But, I know California.

Q:  I’m from California.

Speaker Pelosi.  So, you are ok. 

[Laughter]

We celebrated within the past year, in 2019.  Again, 100 years before we passed it in California.  One of the reasons I wanted to do this today is that so many of the events that we have planned in August, and hopefully we can still engage in them, celebrating women having the right to vote. 

When it happened, they said in the headlines, ‘Women given the right to vote.’  No such thing.  Women fought and marched and starved and were starved and everything to get the right to vote.  We owe them so much.  Not just the women owe them so much.  America owes the suffragists so much.  And we thank the House of Representatives for taking the lead in the Congress on that. 

Thank you all very much.  Wash your hands.