Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC's Live with Craig Melvin

August 12, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Craig Melvin on MSNBC’s Live to discuss the House-passed Heroes Act, the latest on the COVID-19 response package and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 

Craig Melvin.  I'm joined now by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.  Madam Speaker, good morning to you, once again. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Good morning. 

Craig Melvin.  Thank you for your time.  We've still seen no progress on another round of relief for Americans.  We understand there hasn't been any contact between congressional Democrats and the White House.  Why is that? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, because we have a vast difference in our values. 

Let me first say though, because you just were talking about our new candidate for vice president, one point that I haven't heard made.  And that is Kamala Harris is not only the choice as a woman of color, a woman of color, she is the best person that Joe Biden could name. 

There are many people who would do no harm.  There are many people who could be president.  But to have those two combined, with the person he had the comfort level with to serve.  It's about governance, as your commentator said.  It's about governance.  So, let's recognize her not only as the first woman of color to be vice president, but the best possible person he could have chosen to proceed into this election and, of course, to win and serve the American people. 

In terms of the negotiations or lack thereof, I was just writing to my colleagues about how children are affected by these negotiations.  When commentators say to me: why can't you resolve your differences?  Because we're miles apart. 

For example, for children in America, there are millions of food insecure children in America.  We have tens of billions of dollars for food stamps, WIC, women, infant and children, food banks, all kinds initiatives, nutrition initiatives in the legislation, in fact, over $60 billion.  The Republicans, in their plan, have [$250,000], not million, not billion, [$250,000]. 

For families who are concerned about evictions, children have – housing security or insecurity is a very threat to their well-being.  We have the Princeton Eviction Lab and other institutions of credibility saying we need at least $90 billion to stop the evictions and to have not only a moratorium, but money.  The Republicans have zero in their bill. 

And then this is really so tragically sad.  When we talk about children going to school, we're very far apart on the money.  There's not a recognition that it takes the same amount of money for actual, for virtual or hybrid, and the President is saying he wants his money just to go to schools that are actually there when nearly three-quarters of the largest school districts are saying that they're going to be virtual. 

My final point on the children – not final, but for the moment – for the children is the following: we hope we can come to some conclusion based on science to defeat this virus.  As you know, there's been denial and delay and distortion in that, but that was then.  Let's think about going forward.  But the disparity in the communities of color is horrible and quantifiable.

Just think of this: children who are Hispanic are eight times more likely to be hospitalized by this virus than white children.  Children who are African American are five times more likely to be hospitalized by this virus.  And yet, we have this attitude of, ‘Well, well testing is irrelevant.  Tracing doesn't really work.  Masks, forget about it.  Distancing, don't worry.’  No, that's not scientific.  So, let's be scientific for the children. 

Craig Melvin.  So, Madam Speaker, what's next in terms of the talks?  If there is this great chasm between where Democrats are and where the White House is, where do we go from here? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, let's just say this: you see some of the statements of the Republicans saying they're glad, they’re glad there's no agreement because they don't want to spend one more penny on this.  And that's maybe 20, 25 of the Republican Senators.  What the President did with his executive orders, I correct one of your distinguished colleagues who said, ‘Democrats are saying it's unconstitutional slop.’  That was a Republican Senator who said that. 

So, we are unified, House and Senate Democrats for the children, For The People, and they are disorganized, in disarray and do not believe in governance or science.  So, we have to come to some conclusion.  We told them, ‘We'll go down a trillion if you go up a trillion for the children.’  Again, let's meet in the middle.  We've said all of that.

But until they're ready to do that, it's no use sitting in a room and let them tell us that states should go bankrupt.  The fiscal soundness of our states is essential to the strength of our economy.  Actually, though, in our view, it's also about honoring our heroes, health care workers, teachers, first responders, transportation, sanitation, food supply workers who are paid by the state.  They will be losing their jobs unless we respect and honor our heroes by allocating resources to cover the expenses of the coronavirus that states and localities have incurred as well as to recognize the revenue they have lost because of this and the fact that they're going to have to fire millions of people.  And that goes on to Unemployment Insurance. 

So, what are you saving?  Everybody said – look at the Chairman of the Fed and economists, they say, ‘Pay now or pay more later.’  Forgetting compassion or the children, any of that.  In terms of the economy, if we do not infuse more into the economy into fighting this virus so that we can open up our economy, so we can send our children to school safely and the rest, this is only going to get worse. 

So, there's a big difference, and it doesn't help when people say, ‘How come you can't resolve your differences?’  It's a chasm, because they do not share our values.  They don't believe in science.  They don't believe in governance. 

But as a practical matter, they're going to have to come to the table. 

Craig Melvin.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Madam Speaker, thank you.  Thank you for your time. 

Speaker Pelosi.  My pleasure.  Thank you.