Floor Speech on H.R. 4502, the Labor, Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

July 27, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 4502, the Labor, Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

 Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentlewoman from Connecticut for yielding.  Just in awe of her virtuoso presentation of this legislation For The People.  Thank you, Madam Chair, for the mastery of the subject matter, for the strategic plan that you had to bring it to the Floor, for your collaboration with your subcommittee chairs, as well as the chairs of the committees of authorization.  Congratulations and thank you, thank you, thank you.  For the children.

This package puts working families first.  It does so by prioritizing jobs, laying the foundation to create thousands – hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, including by rebuilding the infrastructure, including surface transportation and water infrastructure – to get the lead out – by advancing the clean energy economy of the future and launching work force training for the 21st Century.  And it puts working families first by investing in our children.

Again and again, when people ask me, what are the three most important issues facing the Congress, I always say the same thing: our children, our children, our children.  Their health, their education, the economic security of their families, a clean, safe environment in which they can thrive, a world at peace in which they can reach their fulfillment.  This legislation addresses many of these priorities.

Children's health is protected with nutrition initiatives including S.N.A.P and W.I.C., serving tens of millions of hungry kids.  I remember when the stories were written about the first community health centers.  The person who was the leader in all of that was spending some health money on food.  And the federal government said, ‘That's supposed to be for prescription drugs, not for food.’  And he responded, ‘Food is what makes our children healthy.’  So, thank you for the nutrition sections in here.  The health of families is also protected by support for public health initiatives for maternal and child health, as well as research to fight future pandemics, to head off future pandemics. 

Our children's education is advanced by ensuring that K-12 schools have resources they need, including the historic investments in Title I and higher education, with investments in Pell Grants and other financial assistance funding for Minority-Serving Institutions – our HBCUs, our Hispanic-serving institutions, our institutions that help our Native American institutions of higher learning.

I think it's important to note – and I thank you for recognizing this, Madam Chair – that when we talk about the investments that we make in an appropriations bill, it's important to note that this is not an increasing of the national debt.  Nothing – economists will tell you, nothing brings more money to the Treasury than the education of the American people.  Early childhood, K-12, higher ed, post grad, lifetime learning for our workers – nothing brings more money.  So, thank you for this fiscally responsible initiative.

In terms of economic security for our children, these bills make strong investments in rental, homeowner, other housing initiatives, including for low-income households and in combating homelessness.  And they address economic disparities facing families.  Indeed, this appropriation package puts justice and equity front and center.  We're proud of its provisions to combat injustice in economic opportunities, pollution and the environment, health and more.

The package is about our children's future in another respect.  It confronts the climate crisis by expanding environmental enforcement efforts, creating a civil conservation – [Civilian] Climate Corps and launching a renewed focus on protecting our cherished scenic places and expanding local parks in communities across the country for our families to enjoy.  It sets us on a course for an affordable, secure, clean energy future by investing over $14 billion in clean energy and science, which will also create thousands of green jobs.

And also, so importantly, this package honors our responsibility to our veterans, their families and their caregivers.  These bills contain robust funding for veterans’ health care, including women’s health – women veterans’ health, mental health and homelessness assistance.  It will help veterans transition to civilian life with economic opportunities worthy of their service.  We always say we owe so much to our men and women in uniform and to our veterans.  We owe them so much, to meet their needs.  But we also owe them a debt of gratitude by building a future worthy of their sacrifice.  And they will rebuild – this bill will also build vital military infrastructure, including military housing, child care centers and VA facilities.

This week, as we advance these appropriations bills, Congress will continue our work to advance infrastructure and budget and reconciliation bills that meet the needs of the American people, separate from the appropriations bills.  In all that we do, Democrats are For The People, Building Back Better, by investing in America with jobs, opportunity and progress for families.

With that, I urge a strong vote for this important, impactful appropriations bill, of which the Congress and the country can all be proud.  With great gratitude to Madam Chair, Rosa DeLauro, for her leadership and all the members of her team.  Thank you, Congresswoman DeLauro.  I yield back.