Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Remarks at the Paid Leave for All National Bus Tour Stop
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Pelosi joined Leader Chuck Schumer, Senators Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand and Ron Wyden, and paid leave advocates to speak at the Paid Leave for All National Bus Tour Stop today. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Ai-jen Poo is an icon in our country. To be introduced like that by her is an honor unsurpassed. I will accept your kind words on behalf of the House Democrats, who make everything that we do in the House possible. Thank you, Ai-jen, for your remarkable leadership and your successful mobilization of so many people.
My friends, this is about family. It's about children. It's about time. It’s about time that we get all of this done. I’m honored to be here with our colleagues, the Senators who are here – two who were formerly in the House, and when the Leader comes he will be three who were formerly the House. Senator Gillibrand, Senator – Senator Wyden.
And let me just say this. When we passed family medical leave in the House before – Bill Clinton had just become President. We had been working on it for a long time. Ron Wyden was in the House, and Patty Murray was working on this in her first bill in the United States Senate. And all of us knew that family medical leave had to be paid, if it was really going to be effective.
While I'm honored to be here with the Senators, I want to acknowledge Rosa DeLauro, who has been a godmother of all of these issues, and Bobby Scott, the Chair of the Education and Labor Committee, and Richie Neal, again, the committees of jurisdiction.
But let me talk to you about Rosa for a second. When we did a bus trip, we did a bus trip, ‘When Women Succeed, America Succeeds,’ a number of years ago. We were in her district for one of our stops. And a woman came to the front to speak. She was a school bus driver. And she said, ‘Let me tell you what I see every school day. I see moms come to the curb with their child, frequently crying, child sniffling. She has to put the child on the bus sick, because she has no alternative.’ No paid family and medical leave, no decent wages to afford child care, no child care. Everything we're talking about affects that woman putting a sick child on the bus and what that means to the child and the other children.
In the United States of America, in the United States of America, this is happening. So, now, under the leadership of Joe Biden and the Biden-Harris Administration, with Democrats in the House and the Senate, we will have this happen. And so let's make history.
Care can’t wait. Paid leave for all. The fact that it will now be paid makes a tremendous difference, as you know.
And so I want to just say how impressed I am by the coalition. Because I always say, you know, we can do so much maneuvering in the Congress. But the outside mobilization for all of these issues is really what makes the work successful and better. So, I want to thank all who were here from all the groups, from the National Domestic Workers Alliance, MomsRising, Bright Start Early Care and Preschool – universal preschool, it's about time. It’s about time.
The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Black Women's Roundtable, National Partnership for Women and Families, the Arc, Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO, Labor Project for Working Families – the list goes on and on.
And understand – when you go back, thank all of the people that you work with. Acknowledge – and let them know that we acknowledge that we can't do any of this without them.
So, we're going to have – just think of the liberation this is for families. For moms to be able to work – dads, too. It's not just about the children, as has been said by others already – by Dawn. Thank you, Dawn, for your leadership, and Ai-jen. That this is about home health care, too. Not just about children, but home health care and the respect we should have.
I’ll close by just saying: in one of my town meetings in San Francisco, when we talked about home health care, and one of the witnesses who was a home health care worker. She said, ‘You know, when they complain to me about the fact that I want a raise of decent pay for caring for their family, I'll say, if you don't think I'm worth it, do you think your mother's worth it?’ We think your mother's worth it. Well, we think our children, our mothers, anyone that needs care is worth it. We think that the – well, I'll just say, we say in San Francisco: children learning, parents earning. That's what our country should be about.
So, with that, whom am I yielding too? Now, I’m going to yield to Chuck Schumer, but he’s not here. But, again, right here from the start of family and medical leave, Senator Patty Murray. And now the Chair of the HELP Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction, as you know, in the Senate. But help indeed, she has done all along the way. Her values on this subject are renowned. I don't have to tell you about them, but I do want to thank her for them right now as I yield to the distinguished Senator, the mom in sneakers, from the state of Washington.
Senator Gillibrand. Still in sneakers.
Speaker Pelosi. Still in sneakers. There we go. She's walking, working and marching for the children, for our families. Senator, Madam Chair, Patty Murray.
* * *
Speaker Pelosi. Listening to Patty talk about those early days reminds me of Congressman George Miller, who was Chairman in the House. He was so instrumental in doing this – and in the Senate, Chris Dodd of Connecticut. They just made it their life work for a very long time. That will come to fruition.