Remarks at Media Availability with Leader Schumer Following Meeting with Trump Administration on Coronavirus Relief Legislation
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer held a media availability after meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on further coronavirus relief legislation. Below is a full transcript:
Speaker Pelosi. We just ended another session.
As you know, across the country, people are hungry. Millions of children are food insecure. Tens of millions of people are out of work. Record numbers of people applying for Unemployment Insurance. People are concerned about paying their rent.
The cause of all of this is the virus and there is a way to open our economy, open our schools and the rest, and that is to defeat the virus. That is the heart of our Heroes bill. In order to do that we want to honor our heroes who are working to do that. We want to have testing, tracing, treatment and distancing and masks and sanitation and the rest. And we want to put money in people’s pockets.
Central to ending it all, though, is to defeat the virus. We’re never going to improve the economy unless we do. Just listen to the Chair of the Fed today who said the spread – the further spread of the virus is going to cause – can cause a downturn in the economy.
So, we don’t know why the Republicans come around here with a skinny bill that does nothing to address, really, what’s happening with the virus and has a little of this and a little of that. We’re not accepting that. We have to – we have to have a comprehensive, full bill that, again, honors our heroes, the people who are doing the work, secondly, kills – slays the virus, and puts money in people’s pockets.
And, by the way, if we want to send our children to school and want to open up our economy, we have to support our state and local government – the people are there: our health care workers, et cetera, who are really meeting the needs of people so our society is run. Mr. Leader.
Leader Schumer. Yeah. As the Speaker said, I mean, this is the greatest economic crisis we’ve had in 75 years. The greatest health care crisis in a hundred years and our Republican friends don’t seem to come close to meeting the moment.
They may want to try – they now, they put us up against the wall. We have two cliffs because they wouldn’t negotiate for months. The Heroes bill passed –
Speaker Pelosi. Ten weeks ago, today.
Leader Schumer. Ten weeks ago, today. I’ve been – we’ve been asking Leader McConnell to negotiate for a month. And now they’re up against the wall. They don’t know what to do about it.
But we will tell you, we agree, a skinny bill will not – there are so many problems that are immediate and urgent. They say zero money for state and local governments. That means thousands of people being laid off. They’re unwilling to do anything at this point for schools. And even on the unemployment, they don’t have any plan that can pass the Senate.
So, we just – they’re, they’re tied in a total knot because of the disunity in their Caucus, because of their inability to gather votes, because the President says one thing one day and says another thing the other day.
We have a plan. It’s called The Heroes Act. The Senate Democrats, the House Democrats support The Heroes Act. It’s comprehensive and broad. We believe that should be passed. And if not, they should tell us which parts of it they don’t like and won’t go for. They can’t do that because they’re so divided and so incoherent.
And so, we’re going to – we want to come back and keep talking to them, but they don’t have anything to say. We asked them how, what’s your position on state and local governments? Zero.
Speaker Pelosi. Zero.
Leader Schumer. What’s your position on doing the – on the schools? Well, they’re not sure. It’s sort of, do they want to force people to – do they want to force schools to open and use the power of money to do that? There’s just an – they have no coherent plan. They have no comprehensive plan. They try to come up with a skinny little bill that doesn’t rise up to the moment and they can’t even pass that in their own Senate.
Speaker Pelosi. Again, I’ll reiterate. Ten weeks ago, we passed this legislation. At that time, at that time, Mr. McConnell said, ‘We need a pause.’ ‘We need a pause.’
Ten weeks, tens of thousands of people have died in that period of time. Many people have gone onto unemployment – have lost their jobs, gone onto unemployment. Many, many people have been infected by this virus. That time has taken a toll.
And then, they come back in the last few days with a piecemeal approach that doesn’t recognize science, the science that tells us test, trace, treat, separate. It can happen, and it happens in other countries. It can happen here.
Instead of calling testing overrated, we want them to get the equipment to test and the equipment to quickly get the results of the tests, like in one day instead of over one week. And we need the equipment for PPE, personal protective equipment for our health care providers and those who will do the testing, et cetera.
So, it’s hard to understand how they are ignoring what we really can do to destroy this virus, to open our economy and to open our schools.
Ten weeks from today since we passed the bill, and they still don’t get it. It’s very sad. I think that they’re – I’ve said this before. I think they’re – there is a condescension to working families in America. ‘Who’s using the $600 and for what purpose?’ That kind of thing. ‘Who’s not really paying the rent but has the money?’ That’s condescending. I wish they would subject that same scrutiny to some of the big money they give out to their rich friends.
Thank you all, very much.
Q: Why not agree on a short term extension while you negotiate?
Speaker Pelosi. Because – not – because don’t you understand what we just said?
Q: But you could agree on a short term extension.
Speaker Pelosi. No. What short term – what short term extension? There is no short term extension.
Leader Schumer. They don’t have anything that could pass the Senate.
Speaker Pelosi. They don’t have anything. Let them –
Q: Are you looking at a mask mandate after Louie Gohmert tested positive for coronavirus?
Leader Schumer. There are many, many needs. Unemployment is one.
Speaker Pelosi. You evidently don’t understand the gravity of the situation.
Leader Schumer. There are many others. We cannot leave those behind as well.
Q: Madam Speaker, are you considering a mask mandate for the House after Louie Gohmert tested positive
Speaker Pelosi. We are talking to the Capitol Physician about that. We’ll see what he has to recommend.
Q: Would you have to have a rule if you wanted to mandate that?
Speaker Pelosi. I don’t think so.