Pelosi Remarks on Press Call to Raise Alarm on Nationwide Attacks Against our Democracy

July 29, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Pelosi joined Senator Klobuchar, advocates and state legislators from across the country for a press call urging Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Jessie.  You couldn’t see me, but I was hearing what you all had to say.  Senator Klobuchar, Madam Chair, thank you for your very strong statement.  You gave us hope with that.  And to all of you, thank you for your courage and speaking out on this.

This is outrageous.  This – we are the minutemen.  We are the – we are the saviors of our democracy.  And you all are courageously on the forefront of all of that.  I was in Georgia about a week and a half ago, maybe two weeks now.  And I did hear directly from the Georgians what the urgency represents and what the urgency was for Georgia, to get a national bill passed.  Thank you for your courageous leadership.

And Erika, Senator Geiss, thank you for your strong statement about what's happening in Michigan and even the personal danger that you're encountering and staving off.  And again, we're very blessed that Senator Klobuchar went to Georgia when she did and had the hearing, and is strong leader in the Senate on this.

It is – I just had a two hour hearing on the inequality in our country, in terms of – I don’t have to go into it.  You know what it is.  It’s racial inequality, all of these – all the inequalities that exist.  And one of the ways that the other side tries to perpetuate it is to suppress the vote.  Suppress the vote.  Inequality is expanded.  The ‘haves’ increase their wealth at the expense of workers who produce the productivity that expands that wealth, and they crush the vote, and get it all their own way in taxes and all the rest of that.

So, this has a direct relationship to the success of our middle class and those who aspire to it, which is the backbone of our democracy.  So, this vote is the central piece.  The other side knows it, and that's why they're suppressing it.  And, of course, they don't appreciate the vitality of the beautiful diversity of what America is becoming, has become and will continue to become.  So, I thank you all for what you're doing.

In our bill, you know, the first 300 pages were written by John Lewis to stop the suppression of the vote.  The next part of it is about the gerrymandering of state legislatures, of county government, of everything, including the Congress of the United States, which has produced a Congress that has ultra, ultra-right wing districts without – the ending of the gerrymandering – the – addressing the redistricting, is not necessarily beneficial to Democrats.  It is beneficial to the American people.  It could mean that districts that are Republican districts would be more, shall we say, open to other voices, other than the extreme right wing.  So, it is again, it's good for the Republican Party for us to pass that.  

And then of course, we give voice to the small donors and grassroots, which is the essence of our democracy, as we depress the big, dark special interest money [that] suffocates the airways.  Again, we must get this done.

Now, there's another element that's not in our bill yet.  Maybe it's in the Senate bill.  I don't know, they hold it close.  And that is the nullification aspects that they are engaged in now.  Now, they're going to decide after the election, whether they approve of the count for, I don't know about what criteria they use – the criteria they use, but it has to be stopped.  The people's voices must be heard and respected.  That's called a democracy.  

It isn't three people on a committee to say, ‘We'll review it and decide whether it stands or not.’  But don't underestimate the gall, the arrogance of – beyond arrogance of it all, to destroy our democracy, to destroy our democracy by destroying the votes, the voices of everyday people.  Everybody's vote – voice and vote is to be respected.

So, to you I just I'm so excited about the work of Six Action and what you are doing.  Jessie, thank you for your leadership.  It's great to be here with Emilia and, and well, Representative Sykes, Senator Geiss and Representative Cannon, as well as the distinguished Chair of the Rules Committee in the Senate, Senator Klobuchar

I know we'll have time for questions, but you know, John Lewis, he wrote the first 300 pages.  He told us – he said to get in good trouble.  This is – that's the spirit in which we must lead this.  But this is as important as Washington crossing the Delaware, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, anything that made our democracy possible.  That's what we have to protect now, For The Children, for the future.

So, I thank you for the opportunity to share a few thoughts with you and especially to express my appreciation to you, to SiX – what the actual title of SiX is ‘State Innovation Exchange.’

Thank you.

* * *

Speaker Pelosi.  We have a bill on our side too.  I’m sure it must resemble it.  About –

Senator Klobuchar.  Yeah, you do.

Speaker Pelosi.  The center of it all, of all of this is Senator Warnock, because he’s been such a – when I was in Georgia, I saw him as well.  And he made it very clear how essential it was, especially in light of what was happening in Georgia.

So, thank you.  It’s great to know that the nullification piece is in there.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  Madam Speaker and Senator Klobuchar, we know you both have to leave imminently.  So, there was one question from the press that wanted to be asked, wanted to see if you had the time to respond.  You know that there are additional developments happening in the negotiations around For The People Act.  Any highlights that can be shared with state legislators who are also working on the frontline and that we can share out more publicly?

[Crosstalk]

Senator Klobuchar.  Speaker Pelosi has passed her bill.  You want to talk first, Nancy, anything?  And, then, I can –

Speaker Pelosi.  [inaudible] – in our bill.  I know that they're in good-faith negotiations in the Senate.  And I'm as curious as the press and all of you as to what might be shared, but maybe it's not – this time is not right.  I don't know.  That's up to –

Senator Klobuchar.  Yeah.  Well, you know, I think that we've made actual progress.  I think if we were just gonna say, ‘Nope, we can't do this,’ because you know, we're Senate Rules, we wouldn't keep going.  We got it through the Committee, nearly intact, with some really important changes for rural areas that have been requested by secretaries of state that were widely supported.  

We then have been in negotiations with Senator Manchin, and as I noted, it's not everything in the bill, but the things that the Speaker brought up, including the work that must be done immediately on gerrymandering, since the Census is coming out in mid-August.  Some states will start immediately working on that.  That is in the bill that we are negotiating with Senator Manchin.  The vote by mail, the automatic registration, including at your DMV.  When you're 16, you can get your name in to get registered.  

So, we met again this week.  This isn't one of these, ‘Oh maybe we'll get it done.’  We are very close to getting an agreement on that bill.  Then, as the Speaker knows, we have procedures they don't have – been placed in the House.  I would personally abolish the filibuster, but we are working on that piece of it as well, with some indication in the past from Senator Manchin for supporting some reform to the filibuster, including standing filibuster or maybe a carve-out.  These are the kinds of things that we're working on.

So, I just – it is, as the Speaker pointed out, this is too important.  We cannot let this moment pass.  There are people that are trying to take away people's right to vote.  We can't let that happen.  And it’s time to pass this bill.

Q:  Thank you, Senator.

Speaker Pelosi.  [inaudible] Congratulations on your leadership.  Thank you.