Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability Calling for Strong Bipartisan Action to Address Poverty

March 2, 2016
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at a press availability with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, Congressman Jim McGovern, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congresswoman Alma Adams, calling for strong bipartisan action to address poverty. Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“I guess it’s afternoon now. Good afternoon, everyone. How wonderful it is to see you out in the cold for our children and for our country. We, the United States of America – the greatest country that ever existed in the history of the world – has one in five, maybe one in four, children in our country going to sleep hungry at night, living in poverty.

“I thank Jim McGovern for being a champion – a relentless, dissatisfied, persistent champion – on ending hunger in America – indeed, in the world. I’ve seen his work here in Washington, across the country and across the world in this regard. The same holds true for Rosa DeLauro on her Committee of Appropriations and her championship in the Farm Bill, in the Ag Bill – the two of them making sure that we honored our values. It’s [more] important for us to have these children have nutrition than it’s important for us to be in our budgets, in our authorizations, in our appropriations. Barbara Lee has talked about poverty – well, she does every single day in the Congress. I’m glad to be here with her, as well as the other champions, for our children in our country and ending hunger in America.

“And the relationships that are there – the relationships between a child being hungry and malnourished and their ability to learn, the relationship between a good-paying job and the ability to put food on the table – when I ask our colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle why they don’t applaud when President Obama repeatedly says, ‘If you work hard, play by the rules, work full time and are making the minimum wage, you should be able to put food on the table’ – that is an applause line. We want the minimum wage to be a living wage. We want bigger paychecks, financial stability for families. So, these are all connected. And they are all disjointed in the Republican budgets.

“So, again, it’s not about issues. It’s bigger than issues, it’s bigger than legislation – it’s about values. And you can’t just talk about them and then walk away from them in the acts of Congress that dismantle them. Putting up obstacles – as Rosa reminds us that they want to have drug testing for people who get SNAP. I mean, come on – that they want to have – in the Floor of the House, when they discuss these issues, they said, ‘God put people on this Earth to work, and Adam had to garden in order to eat. And so, if you don’t work, you don’t eat.’ Are we talking about America’s children and our seniors and people who are working at an exploitive wage, and therefore, cannot afford to put food on the table? So, there are so many issues that are connected here.

“Let our values guide us. Let us hope that we can remove any partisanship from the debate because nothing is more important than us honoring our values and our commitment to our children, to their future and to economic justice for all in our country, which has its manifestations in wages, working conditions – hunger, housing support all across the board.

“I love this sign – the National Catholic Social Justice Network out here for justice. Let our voices be heard to the Republicans in Congress, so that as they speak about poverty in beautiful terms, that their actions will match their words. And with that, I yield back and thank all of you again.”