Pelosi Floor Speech on DREAM Act Discharge Petition
Leader Pelosi. I associate myself with the concerns expressed by Congresswoman [Sheila] Jackson Lee about those who have been affected by the hurricanes and they need not only our compassion but our help as soon as possible. Thank you for your leadership, Congresswoman Jackson Lee.
I also associate myself with the remarks of others who talked about the discharge petition here. This discharge petition will not only discharge a bill, it will discharge the realization of the hopes and dreams and aspirations of so many hundreds of thousands of young people in our country. Just to put it in historical perspective, we passed a DREAM Act in 2010 in the House of Representatives. We couldn't pass it in the Senate because it required 60 votes, but it did receive a majority of the vote in the Senate.
President Obama, as people know, issued an Executive Order. President Trump has rescinded that, but he said he would sign the DREAM Act if it came to his desk. So we are asking our Republican colleagues to join in this bipartisan legislation. Just to put in historical perspective, when Congress acted – so the President said, ‘I can't act, Congress must act.’
But even when Congress acted, President [Ronald] Reagan said, ‘you didn't go far enough.’ So he instituted a Family Fairness initiative which protected many, many more people than Congress did. President George Herbert Walker Bush continued that leadership and that courage, as did President [Bill] Clinton and President George W. Bush, one of the best presidents we ever had in terms of this advocacy for newcomers to our country, realizing that they make America more American by invigorating our country with hope, aspirations and dreams. And President Obama, of course, a great president in this regard as well.
So this is the first President we have had who has put doubt as to whether we respect the contribution of newcomers to our country. He has said he would sign this bill: we trust his word. I ask my Republican colleagues to join in the discharge petition and to appeal to the Speaker with or without a discharge petition. Take the initiative, take the lead, make America more American by unleashing the power and the patriotism of our dreamers. With that, Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.