Pelosi Remarks at House Democrats’ 'The Flint Water Crisis: Lessons for Protecting America's Children' Steering & Policy Committee Hearing

February 10, 2016
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at a House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee hearing today entitled “The Flint Water Crisis: Lessons for Protecting America's Children.” Below are the Leader’s opening and closing remarks:

Leader Pelosi’s Opening Remarks:

“Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for joining us this afternoon – for what I view to be a very solemn occasion. We’re talking about the well-being of our children and families in Flint, Michigan – for your own sacred ground – as we talk about how we, as their public servants, meet their needs.

I’m pleased to be here with the Co-Chairs of the Steering and Policy Committee – under whom all this is taking place – Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Congresswoman Donna Edwards – to be here with Congressman Dan Kildee, who represents Flint, Michigan in the Congress, Members of the Michigan Delegation, Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Member on the Committee of jurisdiction that is involved here, Government Reform, and Raúl Grijalva, Ranking Member on the Committee of jurisdiction of Natural Resources, as well as, as I mentioned, Members of the Delegation – right now – Debbie Dingell and, also, Marcy Kaptur from Ohio. We will be joined by an array of Members in and out during the hearing.

Today, the children and families of Flint, Michigan are caught in an unconscionable crisis. In an American city, thousands and thousands of children have been drinking and bathing with poisonous water for more than a year. It was not an unavoidable natural disaster. It was a man-made catastrophe. Now, thousands of children may be at risk of life-long damage from lead exposure, unless we can help them get the care, attention and resources they need – we must, and we will. I hope that the proceedings that we do after this gives these families hope.

We have a responsibility to help the people of Flint tell their story and to be sure that story is heard loudly and clearly in the halls of Congress. The story of Flint challenges the conscience of America. It holds lessons and mornings for communities across the country. We are honored and grateful to have the witnesses before the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. I especially want to welcome the Mayor of Flint, Mayor Karen Weaver, I want to welcome Dr. [Mona] Hanna-Attisha, Dr. Yanna Lambrinidou, and Superintendent [Bilal Kareem] Tawwab, as well as, Dr. Eric Scorsone. They will be formally introduced by the gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Kildee, but I first want to yield to and thank with great gratitude for your leadership and calling us together, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congresswoman Donna Edwards.”

Leader Pelosi’s Closing Remarks:

“Thank you, [Congresswoman] Sheila [Jackson Lee] for your question. A number of these questions have been posed for the record and have been answered for the record. And we are going to have anything you want to submit placed in the record that will be part of our documentation of this hearing.

I just want to say a few things then give you the last word. First of all, I was proud to appoint Mr. Kildee to the Steering & Policy Committee enabling him to preside on this hearing and to have that base of support within our Caucus to operate from working with the Michigan delegation – Congresswoman Lawrence, Congresswoman Dingell, Congressman Levin, Congressman Conyers. I have some appreciation for the Mayor’s House as Tom Cochran knows being raised in one and my brother being mayor – so I appreciate, Madam Mayor, your tremendous leadership. I want to thank each member of the panel: Madam Mayor – certainly Mayor Weaver – Dr. Tawwab, Dr. Scorsone – lots of doctors today. Did I call you a doctor, Mr. Tawwab? Dr. Lambrinidou, Dr. Hanna-Attisha. I thank all of you.

I’ve been in Congress for 28 years. I’ve been a part of many hearings over time. I can’t remember one that touched our hearts more deeply, that challenged our conscience more firmly that informed us more clearly than what you have done today. I thank you. I know this is just an example of the leadership you are providing in the community. You honor us with your presence and we are the better for it in terms of what decisions we have to make and, following the lead of our Michigan delegation, Mr. Kildee, where we have to go from here. This is not a conversation, this is not a hearing that will end, this is a launch for us into action. So, we will act upon your testimony. We’re grateful for it and want each of your to respond. I know that some of the questions have overlapped because Members have come and gone. You’ve placed answers to all of them on the record already but whatever closing remarks you would like to make. And with that, I yield to Congresswoman Edwards.”