Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press event today following a conversation with co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, and other religious leaders on key issues For The People, such as voting rights, the minimum wage and infrastructure at the House Triangle. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Reverend Barber. And thank you to all of the folks that you acknowledged, who were present in person and by Zoom in our conversation earlier today.
I welcome the comments that you have made about policy and the connection between voting rights and policy progress For The People. I do not get involved in rules, in terms of the Senate and the rest, but I do hope that we can make sure that we have success in saving our democracy, which I do believe is at risk in terms of the legislation that is being passed across the country now. Twelve enacted into – 20 bills enacted into law. Hundreds more introduced to undermine our democracy. Dr. King talked about nullification all those years ago. And now, this legislation they’re putting forth or actions they’re taking, for example, in Georgia, to nullify the results of the election.
This is – it’s so, again, undermining our democracy, you wonder how they think they can get away with it? Well, we cannot let them get away with it. Let me just say my ‘why.’ I came to Congress for the children. My husband and I have five children. And it just was intolerable to me to, as I raised our children – seeing the needs that kids have, that one in five children in America lives in poverty and goes to sleep hungry at night. So, the Poor People’s Campaign is a campaign about the children. So, that’s one of our connections.
I also came here and took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. And every single day, we make a pledge to the flag, for liberty and justice for all. ‘Justice’ is the overriding word here. And the connection between H.R. 1/S. 1 and H.R. 4 and policy is a very direct one, as Reverend Barber said – but also, as Dr. King professed and acted upon. I do believe that one of the most significant ways we can improve the quality of the air our children breathe, the safety of the water they drink, the safety of their neighborhoods by stopping gun violence – the list goes on – is accelerated by stopping the big, dark money that is suffocating the airwaves in our electoral system and our country. Hence, we must pass H.R. 1/S. 1, whatever the name they give it in the Senate.
So, I thank the Poor People’s Campaign, because as many of you have heard me say again and again, President Lincoln said, ‘Public sentiment is everything. With it, you can accomplish almost everything. Without it, practically nothing.’ But for the sentiment to prevail, people have to know. So, I thank the Campaign for making sure people know. People know that what the choices are we have here now are about the children. The children of America and their families have never had as much leverage in the legislative process as they have now. Thank you, President Biden, for putting forth the budget that gives the leverage not to the rich, but to the children. And we must keep that leverage. And we must keep faith with the people who sent us here. In our appeal to the public, ‘For The People,’ we said we would lower the cost of health care costs by lowering the cost of prescription drugs. We would have lower health care, bigger paychecks by building the infrastructure in a green way. And third, that we would have cleaner government, which is essential to the two above.
Yesterday in the House, when we passed the Resolution that moved the President’s budget forward, we addressed all of those three things: lower costs, lower taxes, bigger paychecks, building the infrastructure in a green way to make it safer for the children. And again, when we passed later in the day the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, we honored our own oaths of office. So, we proudly stand before the Capitol of the United States, committed to our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and the people of the United States, respectful of our pledge that we make each day: with liberty and justice for all.
And we have a moment, a transformative moment, thanks to President Biden, a transformative moment to do something so big for the children, for the women, to Build Back Better for the families of America. It’s a pretty exciting time. And in the next few weeks, we’ll focus on how we get the reconciliation bill in sync with the Senate, respectful of the approach they have to take so that we can, again, just in a timely fashion, For The People Build Back Better.
And now, it is my privilege to yield the floor to Dr. Liz Theoharis. She is a remarkable leader, the Reverend. And every time she speaks, we’re inspired. She gives us hope. She has knowledge and judgment. And she has been a force for mobilizing the outside. Whatever we can do internally, with maneuvering and persuasion, is greatly enhanced by the outside mobilization. Thank you, Poor People’s Campaign, for your leadership in that regard.
I welcome – now, are you going to introduce them or am I going to introduce them? I yield the floor. I yield the floor.
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