Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of the Moving Forward Act
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, sweeping legislation to invest more than $1.5 trillion to rebuild America’s infrastructure while creating millions of good-paying jobs, combatting the climate crisis and addressing disparities throughout America. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and acknowledging my maiden name.
DeFazio – D'Alesandro. He has an Irish mother, however. In any event.
Mr. Speaker, this is a special day. In the election, the Democrats said we were going to increase paychecks by building the infrastructure of America with green, resilient, modern and job-creating infrastructure. It has always, building infrastructure has always been a non-partisan issue. A bipartisan issue. We have all taken great pride in the regions we represent and the great effort to meet the needs of those communities.
Today, House Democrats are proud to bring to the Floor H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, to deliver on our promise. Moving Forward, that's exactly what this legislation will enable our country to do. H.R. 2 takes bold, broad and transformational action to rebuild our infrastructure and make it smarter, safe and built to last while addressing key injustices in America, which have been laid bare in the Corona-19 virus.
Across the country, day in and day out, American people have been shining a light on those disparities and are demanding justice, racial justice and also environmental justice, health care justice, justice in financial security, transportation justice and more, which target communities of color. Transportation justice; people don't think of that as an injustice, but in many cases it is and we can give you examples.
So, here we are today with H.R. 2, an all-Caucus effort, strengthened by the intellectual resources brought by so many Members from across the country. The Chair of the Infrastructure Committee has been our maestro in all of this. For decades, he has served on the infrastructure and transportation committee, but he was also – the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he's also chaired the Natural Resources Committee. So, the combination of infrastructure, environmental protections, preserving our planet as we promote commerce comes naturally to him. We are really blessed by his years of experience, knowledge and strategic thinking on this subject.
Thank you, Mr. Defazio, for being this person at this time, so needed for our country. And he has always been thinking of how – when we build our infrastructure, how we create jobs in the building, how we promote commerce and preserve jobs in the meantime; how we save time in getting product to market, especially our agricultural products, which are so, shall we say, perishable and the need for, time to time, is so important; how we clean the air by having more mass transit, bicycle lanes and the rest. One way or another, this is a health issue, an environmental justice issue, commercial issue. In every way, an important day for us. Again, he had a 24-hour marathon markup of the bill – that in itself is a sign of the stamina it takes to build the infrastructure – following nearly 20 committee hearings on the transportation pillar of this project.
Also part of all of this is Mr. Pallone of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has made a strong down payment on clean energy future and upgrading hospitals, community health centers, health care infrastructure to increase capacity and strengthen care during COVID-19 and, of course, into future public health emergencies and the ongoing health needs of our country. Mr. Pallone was also instrumental in the infrastructure for building broadband for our country, another injustice that we want to rectify, so that all children, all families in America have access to broadband in this time of distance learning and telemarketing and telemedicine and the rest. Mr. Clyburn, our distinguished Whip, very much a part of addressing that issue as well.
Bobby Scott, the Chair of the Education and Workforce Committee – I name these chairmen, and it gives me an opportunity to use their names to praise them, but also to talk about what this bill does. We tell children that education is so important to their own self-fulfillment, to their communities, to the competitiveness of America, and yet, we send those children to schools that give them a different message about the importance of education if those schools are not up to par for these children to learn. They are not wired for the future. They have contamination that are dangerous – is dangerous to their health. They're just not meeting their educational needs. So, let's respect our children as we tell them to study, to give them the tools to do so, increasing capacity and strengthening their ability to learn. Again, the COVID-19 points out some of those disparities in our system as well.
Mr. Neal, Richie Neal, on the Ways and Means Committee, was very much part of the – some of the initiatives because the tax code is so important when we're trying to increase energy efficiency, increase climate resilience, creating many millions of good paying jobs. And he was able to accommodate so many excellent ideas from our Members, including our distinguished Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Kathy Castor of Florida. Many of her proposals in her report are manifested in this bill, H.R. 2, some of them by way of the Ways and Means Committee.
Maxine Waters, we just heard from, Madam Chair of the Financial Services Committee, for advancing justice and equality in housing in our country, expanding affordable housing across the country, whether it's public housing or addressing issues that relate to homelessness, issues that relate, well, in so many different ways, she has been a leader in all of this. And this infrastructure bill has a substantial infrastructure piece for housing. So, whether we’re talking about roads and bridges and the safety of all of that, whether we're talking about broadband or hospitals, whether we're talking about education and schools, whether we're talking about housing, whether we're talking about our labs.
Mr. Ben Ray Lujan, Assistant Speaker, member of the Leadership, Congressman Lujan with that, also joining Eddie Bernice Johnson of the Science and Technology Committee in advancing what Mr. Peterson brought from the Agriculture Committee. Congressman – Mr. Chairman, Bennie Thompson so much from Homeland Security. Carolyn Maloney, protecting our Postal Service from the Oversight Committee. The list goes on and on. Mr. Grijalva, in terms of the green infrastructure of America.
So, this is the product of so much knowledge, experience, the intellectual resources of people outside with their magnificent mobilization at the grassroots level for all of these things. I think if there's any bill that comes together in the Congress, it's this bill that shows that everything in our country is connected, from the education of our children to the technologies of the future to the roadmap to get there.
So, I thank Mr. DeFazio for making this important occasion possible. I say to him sometimes in jest but sincerely, ‘Our hopes, Mr. DeFazio, are riding on you’ with this important transportation bill For The People, the Moving Forward Act.
As Americans across the country demand justice, equality and change, Congress must join them by taking bold action to deliver progress in their lives.
I urge a strong bipartisan vote For The People on H.R. 2. I see Mr. Blumenauer there who has been a champion on infrastructure for so many years in the Congress and his many on this committee, Transportation and Infrastructure, and now the Ways and Means Committee. But so many people’s – the intellectual resource of the entire Congress is manifested in this bill. And I urge a very strong vote on H.R. 2 as it moves our country forward.
With that, I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and yield back the balance of my time.