Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Mad Money to discuss The Heroes Act, House Democrats’ urgently-needed legislation to address the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, the Congressional response to the killing of George Floyd and other news of the day. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Jim Cramer. The Democrats are making a case we need more spending, so let's go straight to the source to Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, to get a clear picture of what we can do to bolster a sagging economy.
Speaker Pelosi, welcome back to Mad Money.
Speaker Pelosi. Wonderful to be here, Jim.
Jim Cramer. So, Madam Speaker, we're on the cusp of seeing a number tomorrow morning at 8:30 that may be the worst we've seen, maybe since the Great Depression. What are the prospects for an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, the $600 per week, that will make it so that people who are trying to find jobs can also put food on the table?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, first of all, let me say The Heroes Act is an answer, in many ways, to the challenge that our economy faces. If we want to open up the economy, and we all do, we need to defeat the virus, and that's testing, tracing, treatment and isolation. And we don't have a vaccine and we don't have a cure, but we do have a method to defeat the vaccine – excuse me, the virus. And we have to do that.
So that's one way to open the economy. The other way is to honor our heroes. Let's keep these people working. The money that we're putting into state and local governments to pay our health care workers, our first responders, our sanitation, transportation, teachers and the rest are keeping people working. Otherwise the states will have to fire some and raise taxes or some combination thereof. So this is about the economy. It's about stimulus. And the third is putting money in people's pockets.
I’m very concerned about what would happen if the Republicans decide to cut off the Unemployment Insurance, regardless of the $600. That too, but the Unemployment Insurance is a very, very valuable stimulus, as well as meeting the needs of America's working families who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
So, again, open the economy, keep government going, but having these people employed and having purchasing power and putting money in people's pockets. It’s about the economy, all of it.
Jim Cramer. One thing you left out, I know Costco, the second largest retailer in the country feels is important, and the numbers justify it, is the mask. But there are a lot of people who won't wear the mask. They feel that the mask is somehow unmanly or the mask has issues beyond just a psychological defeat. But it's been instrumental in getting places to open again.
Speaker Pelosi. Absolutely. Real men wear masks. And these masks are essentially important. And, if you decide not to wear a mask, you're insulting anyone with whom you come in contact. If you were to decide not to wear a mask, you could be bringing home something to your family that might not be a welcome guest, that would be a virus.
So, again, I didn’t mention it; it’s such common sense. I didn’t say some other things, but you're absolutely right, and thank you for emphasizing it. The mask is essential, is essential.
Jim Cramer. Of course. Now, I’m seeing some states, including the one I live in, borrowing money at rates that I don't think it can pay back, to be honest. Now, we can maybe rely on the Fed, but that is really short term and not the way our country is built.
Do the Republicans recognize that the borrowing cost for some states is just too high, and through no fault of their own, they had a huge amount of COVID victims?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, the fact is is what we do in The Heroes Act is to say this money is strictly for the cost incurred because of the coronavirus and addressing the health care needs. It's also to offset the revenue lost because of the coronavirus. If you go to speaker.gov/heroesact, you'll see how different communities across the country benefit from this, and every community in the country does. Every state and every community, state and local government.
This is very important. Most of them have to balance the books by the end of June, by June 30th, effective July 1. They really need The Heroes Act to be passed now, to be passed now.
You talked earlier about how the economy is coming back. Well, I think the Fed is doing a really good job in bolstering the stock market. They put out so much money in terms of the, shall we say, the goal of credit and bonds, and all the rest of that, that why not have the market go up.
We just want some of that other money to be spent to bolster the working families in America who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, whom the virus is debilitating in terms of getting the economy moving again, until we test, trace, treat and isolate, as we wear our masks.
Jim Cramer. You know I am someone who tries to be constructive at a time when it's difficult and I know that you've got – you stand united with Republicans on one key issue, which is, what's China really doing to us?
You have been one of the few people even willing to mention Tiananmen Square. It's almost forbidden. And, yet, we know it was one of the great human rights violations. We also know that they want – the Chinese are still listing companies that are taking Americans' money and not fulfilling the promise of having honest financials. When does this end?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, I thought it would have ended by now. But, actually, Democrats and Republicans have catered to the Chinese government. But Democrats and Republicans, on the other hand, have worked together.
Thirty-one years ago was the Tiananmen Square massacre. In 1991, I stood with my Republican and Democratic colleagues in Tiananmen Square unfurling a banner remembering those who died at Tiananmen Square. We thought that if we could use our leverage with the Chinese, that we could free those prisoners; we could open our markets; they could stop violating our intellectual property; they would stop selling weapons technology for weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems to rogue nations. But they didn't, not for a very long time.
And, now – and now, just again, in a very bipartisan way, we passed three bills: the Uyghur bill, which we just sent to the President, the Hong Kong Democracy bill that the President signed, as well as the legislation that relates to Tibet – bipartisan, bicameral.
We cannot be naive when it comes to the Chinese. They have no intention of stopping ripping off our intellectual property. They have no intention of giving us the market access that we need. And, unless we would join globally with the EU and have real market strength, to say to them, ‘We're no longer going to be at the mercy of your trade violations. We're going to work together. Now, let's negotiate.’
Jim Cramer. That would do it. That's how you get it done.
One last question. Have you been as impressed as I have, Madam Speaker, that there are CEOs – and we do have CEOs – when we go way back, there are CEOs who would never even pay attention to something like the travesty that occurred in Minneapolis. But, there are many CEOs coming on our networks and actually realizing that they haven't done nearly enough. They're not – they're not uttering platitudes. They're putting together plans.
What can we do to continue to make it so that the CEOs remember that they have an obligation, particularly because they're paid hundreds of thousands more than – millions more than most of the people who work for their companies?
Speaker Pelosi. Sometimes they make in two weeks what their employees make in a lifetime. What I'm hopeful about is their children. Children are asking their parents now: ‘What are you doing to preserve the planet? What are you doing to make things fair?’ And I do think that that has had an impact on some very wealthy people, anyway. And not just about philanthropy, but to make some business choices that are more, shall we say, fair and safe for the future.
But I do think that we have to recognize that we all have a role in all of this. And there's private philanthropy, private consideration of how you run your company or you just say, ‘I want tax breaks and I want no regulation and I'll just put up with anything, any uncertainty, any lack of values, any of the rest of it in order to get my tax break and my company not regulated.’
So, I'm glad to hear that you're seeing evidence of some values dominating what's going on. But, as you know, for most companies the profit motive, the business plan, is just to make money. And we don't begrudge anyone their success at that. We don't like the exploitation of workers, the environment or character of a country that we are.
I do have my own comments that I have made about those whose business model has been built on conveying falsehoods to the American people.
Jim Cramer. No. And I know that that’s actually – falsehoods are bad for business. And anyone who encourages them is actually bad for business, even people who are necessarily thought of as pro-business. It's a mistake.
As you know, also, the unrest is not – it is tragic, and a lot of it motivated, I think, from economic realities that are often ignored.
Speaker Pelosi. Well, I do think that we have to be unifying as we go forward. You know, we can talk about what happened, when and what and all that, but there has been something very – a pattern of bad behavior of how people are treated unfairly in our country.
But let's make this – take this moment to be an inflection point, a pivotal one, that we are going to not just proceed incrementally, but in a very strong way to do things differently. And part of that difference will be to say, ‘What are the solutions that can unify our country rather than assigning blame or past performance,’ but to say, ‘how do we go forward together?’
And let us recognize the role that the private sector plays in the economic life of our country: job creators, wealth creators and the rest. But let's also know that there is good governance that creates jobs, as well as enables business to function because of the services rendered by the public sector
Jim Cramer. Well, Madam Speaker, I think it's hard to disagree with that. And, if people do, I don't think it will be well-received by voters.
Thank you so much for coming on Mad Money.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you. My pleasure, always. Thank you.
Jim Cramer. That's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with some important words. Mad Money back after the break.