Pelosi Floor Remarks on House Democrats’ Initiative for Better Infrastructure and Bigger Paychecks

January 6, 2015
Speech
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today on the House floor on House Democrats’ legislative package to build better infrastructure and ensure bigger paychecks for hardworking American families.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentlelady for yielding and I thank her for her wonderful work on behalf of the American people as the ranking member on the Rules Committee for such a long time and in such a very strong way.

“My colleagues, I congratulate you and your families on your swearing-in today.  We had a lovely ceremony, I think, earlier.  Eventually it became that after we knew the outcome of the vote.  But it's clear that the election at the polls in November demonstrated that American people are hopeful that this new Congress can work together to grow our economy and, in turn, grow paychecks for American workers.  Honoring that trust, House Democrats today are putting forward a legislative package to increase paychecks for working families and put Americans back to work – building the roads and bridges our country needs – and paid for by keeping our tax dollars here at home.  I talked about this a little bit earlier as I introduced the Speaker.

“What we are proposing, sadly, is in sharp contrast to what the Republicans have in this rule.  The first vote that Republicans are asking this Congress to take in the new Congress will be to advance additional tax cuts for the wealthy and special interests.  When they talk about dynamic scoring, when they talk about dynamic scoring, it's a very bad deal for middle-income families in our country.  In sharp contrast to them, we will bring forward the Stop Corporate Expatriation and Invest in America’s Infrastructure Act, which prevents U.S. corporations from renouncing their citizenship in order to dodge from paying their fair share of taxes.

“It’s time to stop rewarding companies that move overseas and instead use those dollars to create good-paying jobs here at home.  Every chance any of us get, we have to make that point.  I don't see anything partisan about it, and many Republicans have voted in this manner in the past.  So this was supposed to be something where we had common ground.

“House Democrats will also put forward the CEOs/Employee Pay Fairness Act, and that's legislation to ensure that workers share in the fruit of their productivity, denying CEOs the ability to claim tax deductions on income over $1 million unless they give their employees a well-deserved raise.

“The American people are owed an open and transparent debate on these issues.  Today, with this rules package, Republicans are shutting out debate for Democrats and Republicans.  With their extending the amount [of time] it takes for Democratic members to put forth a Motion to Instruct, – they are shutting down debate.  They are rejecting transparency and openness.  That is what the American people want, transparency and openness.  In all that we do in Congress we must keep the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the American people in the forefront.  We must be committed to doing this in a bipartisan way an open and transparent way.  This bill today rejects that.

“Now, what I want to say is – we all in reading our Christmas cards and all the rest – but one of the ones I want to share with you, which is relevant to our discussion today, is from my friend, Jack Trout.  What he said in his ‘seasonal greeting for the times’: ‘To borrow a biblical reference, the money changers have taken over the temple.  What’s behind all of this,’ he says in his message, ‘is a concerted effort by wealthy companies and people to protect the status quo and their vested interests.  The result is a sad fact that the middle class gets squeezed while the rich get richer.  This squeeze is why the consumer-led economy has been so slow to rebound after the financial crisis. What people fail to realize is the simple fact that middle class are the real job creators in America.  They generate demand which in turn builds markets.  ‘They,’ the middle class, ‘put “merry” into Merry Christmas.’

“And I mention this because the fact is is that it is true that when the consumer economy, which is what we are, is alive and well and thriving, it does – spend money, inject demand in the economy – create jobs and our economic recovery is accelerated.  Dynamic scoring, suppressing debate, some of the other things that are contained in this rule, are contrary to that and antagonistic to the financial stability of the middle class.

“So I hope our colleagues – and there are so many reasons to go through – but what it means more to working families is their financial stability.   And on that subject alone, were it not even for the other things in this bill – which we could talk about all day, that should be rejected – but just because it, again, has a negative impact on the growth of our economy when it comes to supporting the financial stability of the middle class we should vote no on this.  The Democrats offer a sharp contrast. The motion that will be to call on the previous question is one that calls for us to talk about building infrastructure of America.  The Motion to Commit that will be put forth by Mr. Van Hollen is one that is fair in terms of pay to our workers.

“And so for many reasons, Mr. Speaker, I urge our colleagues to vote no.  This isn't what was talked about in terms of ideals and values this morning.  This is about putting the squeeze on the middle class, doing it in a nontransparent way and doing it under the rules of the House.  I urge a ‘no’ vote and yield back the balance of my time to the gentlelady.”