Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference Introducing Vanessa Guillén Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act

June 23, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Michael Turner and bipartisan Members of Congress for the introduction of the Vanessa Guillén Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Congresswoman Speier, for your very strong statement, in terms of this legislation.  I'm honored to be here with you and sponsor in the Senate, Senator Gillibrand.  She has had me very well-versed on her – her path to this.  I know you will hear that next.  

We have a House Democratic Caucus that I have to go to now, but what an honor it is to be with each and every one of you.  Thank you for making this so strongly bipartisan, because it is so strongly patriotic.  It's an honor to be here with Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, who support this legislation.  Some here, some on the record. 

Let me just say why I personally am here.  I met with the Guillén family – Vanessa’s – Mayra, their mom and just, the whole family is so patriotic.  And Vanessa, this lovely young woman, so patriotic, wanted to serve our country.  It wasn't a job for her.  It was a patriotic joy.  And then it turned into this. 

But hearing her story, I was reminded – and I didn't need much reminder – but I was reminded of all of the women that I have met in theater.  I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan many times, been to their camps and the rest.  Listen to the stories of women – mostly women, not always women – mostly women's stories, who had been victimized in this manner.  I have listened with them, with the chaplains, with health care professionals and the rest.  This is a problem, a challenge.  It isn't just an incident of someone's interpretation of a conversation.  This is a challenge that we have.  It is long overdue that it is addressed.  It must be addressed.  The public visibility of it is necessary to make sure that it happens.  The bipartisanship of it – so, so very eloquent in recognizing the need to get the job done.

And, again, I thank Senator Gillibrand for her courageous leadership in the Senate on this for over a long period of time, and Jackie Speier, as we know, in the House has been relentless every single day in every possible venue, including going right to the camp, as she has indicated.  So, I thank all of you for your leadership, your courage, your patriotism to, again, help us honor our oath of office to protect and defend, but as we protect and defend the Constitution and the American people, that we protect those who protect us, as well. 

So, I’m very definite.  We will bring this bill to the Floor.  It will pass in the House.  I hope that it will succeed in the Senate, as well.  And that it will be – do so soon.  But say her name: Vanessa Guillén.  Her family, so courageous, turning their grief into change, to save other people who might be victimized.  And, again, it's important not to just talk about harassment, but to talk about other crimes that flow from it. 

So, thank you for your leadership, your courage, all of you, and onward to bringing it to the Floor as soon as possible. 

Thank you.  Thank you so much.