Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability Calling for a Clean Bill to Honor Full Faith and Credit of United States
“Good morning, everyone. Thank you for being here. I assume you are not in line to get your picture taken with the Speaker. I’m going to get in that line soon. I’d be honored to have a picture taken with him as someone who worked with him in this Capitol on so many issues beyond what happens on the floor but what happens in this Capitol.
“Here we are, though, one day – only a few legislative days, fewer than seven legislative days left until the default on the full faith and credit of the United States of America. This is a very, very serious matter. In fact, it’s as serious as it gets for our economy, for interest rates, for what it means to seniors, to homeowners for their mortgages, for car owners and their payments, for students and their loans. This has a direct impact on the lives of the American people and a very direct impact on our economy.
“A couple of years ago even the discussion of defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States of America – that discussion led to a lowering of our credit rating. Lowering our credit rating. This is a very frivolous endeavor that the Republicans are engaged in, but I remain confident that we will be able to work together in a bipartisan way to honor the full faith and credit. And we will be able to do so with the full support of the House Democratic Caucus.
“I want to pay special tribute to Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont who has been relentless on this issue for a number of years and persistent in gathering signatures and support. Very proud that yesterday, 100 percent of the Democrats voted on the Previous Question with the idea that we need to be together to honor the full faith and credit. With that, I’d like to yield in gratitude to Mr. Welch for his great leadership and yield the floor to Peter Welch of Vermont.”
Leader Pelosi. Also would like to – since you went back in history, our constitution. Any reading of the constitution will say that the full faith and credit of the United States of America shall not be in doubt. Any questions?
Q: Madam Leader, have you had any conversations with Speaker Boehner in any fashion to talk about things that might be coupled – not as concessions but coupled with the debt limit like his Medicare premium issue you’re concerned about or the Social Security disability issue?
Leader Pelosi. I don’t have any interest in any coupling. This is a nonnegotiable: the full faith and credit of the United States of America. We talk about keeping government open which is another challenge we’re faced with Republicans, 151 of whom – two-thirds of their Caucus – voted to not keep government open just a few weeks ago. 151 Republicans said ‘no’ to the continuing resolution to keep government open. And so we talk about how we deal with that issue and how we get to something before December 11th. But all these issues have to be resolved. And instead of resolving them, what are they doing? Spending taxpayer dollars on the politically-oriented Benghazi hearing that you heard go on endlessly yesterday. And that’s just not what our focus should be. It’s a matter of hours, days, weeks, months that we must do the work of the people. Even Paul Ryan has said – what’s his quote? We are not doing the work of the people.
Q: Leader Pelosi, after yesterday’s hearing with Hillary Clinton, do you think it makes sense for Democrats to walk away and boycott this committee going forward?
Leader Pelosi. Well, it’s up to the members of the committee. I’ve taken my lead from them on it. You know, we had quite a back and forth in our Caucus as to whether I should even appoint people. I was very proud of the Members that we have appointed. I think they have been outstanding in the 17, 18 months of this investigation. But they may decide that now in defending truth, their job is done, they want to move on. I have to talk to them and see what risk they see if we would walk away because you see the distortion and just the disconnect with reality. I just left Hillary Clinton. We were at the Women’s Leadership Forum, where as you can imagine, she received a hero’s welcome. Her knowledge, her poise, her stamina, her clarity was so appreciated by the American people, and certainly, by the women gathered there.
Q: Back to the debt ceiling, for just a moment here, to clarify on the other question about the debt ceiling, so you guys just want a clean bill? You said, ‘The full credit should not be in question, and there’s no give in that position.’
Leader Pelosi. No.
Q: Steny Hoyer said yesterday: ‘188.’ He thought the Democrats would be united, but if it’s anything short of that, some add-on, that Democrats would peal off.
Leader Pelosi. 100 percent. Let me be clear. The full faith and credit of the United States is not negotiable. We want a clean bill in that respect. Coincidentally, we have a deadline because everything has been, because haven’t gotten our work done, we have October 29th – the deadline for the Highway Trust Fund to run out. That’s one week from now. We hope that – a bill passed out of a Committee – hopefully, it can be brought to the Floor in a timely fashion. November 3rd, the full faith and credit of the United States of America runs out. We need to address that issue. December 11th, the Continuing Resolution runs out that is keeping government open.
There are many other issues like Ex-Im Bank, which are long expired. 9/11 workers – health benefits and compensation – long expired, that we hope we accomplish in the hours, days, weeks ahead. And so, there are two issues that are of paramount importance of keeping government open – full faith and credit – which have to happen to enable us to do the other legislation that I mentioned. And we should be doing that, instead of wasting taxpayer money on frivolous endeavors, as the Republicans are doing.
So, I see a path – I’m optimistic. We stand ready to cooperate, to negotiate on the keeping government open legislation, and, again, we have some specific deadlines, like the Medicare Part B Premium that we have been pounding the desk for a number of weeks now that it needs to be addressed, or else, after the first of January, premiums will go up. So, we’re hopeful that we can find closure there. On the specifics that you mentioned – the D.I. – hopefully, we can find compromise there. What they have first – I think we’re on a pathway, [we] understand each other, at least, we know what the decision is that needs to be made. The Appropriations Subcommittees have been working in a bipartisan way – all of this has been bipartisan, by the way – a bipartisan way to be prepared for when we find offsets, what the top line is, for what we will have in our Omnibus Bill, and we will – at the same time – be making sure that we don’t have any harmful riders in the bill. So, everybody has been working in a bipartisan way to do their piece, so that when the decisions are made, and that’s all that are left – to make some decisions – we can go forward and have some confidence for the American people – that we are concerned about our economy and what are decisions mean in their lives because that’s what we are here to do. We work for the American people.
Q: Is it your opinion that the Democrats should leave the Benghazi Committee?
Leader Pelosi. I don’t – I’ll just hear what they have to say. It’s a question of what endangerment of the truth that the Committee wants to pursue. I’m so proud of each one of them. Let me just say – Elijah Cummings of Maryland – spectacular – are my two Adams – Adam Schiff, the Ranking [Member] on the Intelligence Committee, Adam Smith, the Ranking [Member] on the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Cummings, the Ranking [Member] on the Government Reform Committee, Linda Sanchez, a great lawyer and demonstrated throughout the hearings, and, of course, Tammy Duckworth, we’re very proud of her. I couldn’t be prouder of the work that they have done. I trust their judgment. They will let me know what are the upside and downside of walking away.
Thank you all very much.