Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of H.R. 2500, FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act

July 12, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 2500.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the gentlewoman from California for yielding and commend her for her extraordinary leadership in having a purpose and a mission to our national security.  Her leadership on having an Authorization for the Use of Military Force has been unsurpassed in the Congress, and I thank her.  And, I know she’ll have amendments to that effect in this legislation as well.

Mr. Speaker, I want to salute so many Members of the Armed Services Committee and starting with Chairman Smith for his relentless efforts to advance this strong, bipartisan defense authorization legislation, which honors the values of our country, strengthens our security and advances America’s leadership in the world.

One week after our nation celebrated the birth of our democracy, the Democratic House is proudly honoring that oath – the oath we take to support and defend the Constitution and to protect the American people.

The Democratic Majority is bringing forth responsible budgeting needed for safe, strong and smart defense.  This legislation keeps America strong with vital action to improve the economic security and well-being of our service members and families, including a much-needed pay raise.

It keeps America safe with critical steps to promote collaboration with our allies, harden our defenses against hostile foreign powers and meet the challenges of the future, including the climate crisis, which is a national security issue.  It keeps America smart by reaffirming Congress’s constitutional oversight responsibility over the President’s military actions, including by prohibiting funding for the deployment of a new, low-yield nuclear missile war head – war heads.

We applaud Representative Ro Khanna and the many bipartisan co-sponsors of their amendment to prohibit federal funds from being used for any military force against Iran without congressional authorization.  As I rise to support the bill, I also rise to support Mr. Khanna’s amendment.

The bill – getting back to the bill – is also about family, about survivor benefits.  It protects children at the border who are facing an appalling situation that is beyond the pale of civilized behavior.

I say the same thing when people ask me what are the three most important issues facing the Congress, I say the same thing: our children, the children, the children.

This legislation prohibits Department of Defense funds from being used to house unaccompanied children forcibly separated from their parents or legal guardian by the Customs and Border Protection near the border or a port of entry.  And, it creates oversight, requiring DOD to submit a certification that any housing provided to unaccompanied children meets Department of Homeland Security standards, including those provide in the Flores settlement.

We must take every action we can and every opportunity we find to end this situation of the children and improve the health, safety and well-being of the children in custody.  In coming weeks, we will advance Congresswoman Escobar’s legislation to bring more accountability to the Department of Homeland Security and medical care standards legislation led by Congressman Ruiz to ensure the health and safety of children and adults in our custody.

We support our Members who have led visits to the Border Patrol stations to find the facts and are leading the Battle Cry of action on behalf of America’s values about what we stand for.

So, I urge our colleagues to vote yes on this important legislation, keep America strong.  It’s about a pay raise for our troop, about survivor benefits, about protecting our children, in addition to, again, helping us honor our oath of office to protect and defend.

I urge a strong bipartisan vote for this bill to uphold our values and strengthen America.

Thank you again to the gentlelady for yielding and I yield back the balance of my time.