Pelosi Floor Speech on FY2016 Continuing Resolution
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. I thank her for her leadership as well as that of our distinguished Chairman, Mr. Rogers, to bring this to the floor today where we can vote in a bipartisan way to keep government open without doing harm to women's health in our country. To shut government down is really a bad decision for this Congress to make. The last time we did that, we lost 24 billion dollars. The last time this Congress voted to shut down government, we lost 24 billion dollars to our economy, 120,000 jobs, our work force, our federal work force, which contains more than 30 percent of veterans in its composition, were furloughed or worse. The American people deserve better.
“So as we go forward from this continuing resolution – which is a good outcome of the conversations that have gone back and forth, a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate, I hope a strong bipartisan vote in the House – let us take heed of the words of Pope Francis who, just not even one week ago, spoke to us in this Chamber. He asked us to work together for the good of the people, for the common good of the people. He said a good leader would have a spirit of openness and pragmatism, again, to get the job done for the American people. So, as we go forward, we'll have some difficult choices to make. We all share the values of strengthening our national security, investing in our children's future, reducing the deficit as we go forward; but as we do so, there's some important differences that we share. Let's hope that we recognize a good idea wherever it springs from but let us also recognize what our responsibilities are to the American people first and foremost.
“So I consider this a very positive action taken today. I wish that we were finished with all of our appropriations work. As an appropriator, I know that that's always the goal of our Chairman and our Ranking Member. I thank our Ranking Member, Congresswoman Lowey, for her leadership but also for the optimism she just expressed that as we go forward we'll do so in a timely fashion, maybe long before December 11th, so we will have removed all doubt in the public's mind that government will work – that it will function as the Pope had asked us, for the good of the American people.
“There are important decisions ahead, though, in terms of what our priorities are. And the budget should be a statement of our national values, and what is important to us should be reflected on how we allocate those resources – so we have the omnibus bill to deal with. We also have investments in the infrastructure of our country and our transportation – that will be an important bill that we will be debating at the same time, but has a relationship in terms of how we offset, how we pay for that. And then we have the issue of the Ex-Im Bank – a great job creator for our country, and yet still unauthorized – long overdue for us to authorize it. And then before Thanksgiving probably, we will have the issue of a vote on honoring the full faith and credit of the United States of America. The last time that was put into doubt, it was unfortunate because it lowered our credit rating. Even though we didn't follow through with it, even though the full faith and credit ended up being honored, just the threat, the suspicion that it could be undermined lowered our credit rating.
“So, we have really important work to do for the good of the people. Again, let us honor our responsibilities in the beautiful spirit of Pope Francis – I say Saint Francis because that's the Patron Saint of my city, of San Francisco, and the namesake also of Pope Francis. But Pope Francis said, he instructed us as to what good leaders do, and good leaders have a sense of humility, to respect the views of other people and not be condescending in terms of our views are the only ones that matter.
“So, in that spirit, I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, with the Speaker, with others, and certainly the leadership of our distinguished ranking Member, Congresswoman Lowey. With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.”