Pelosi Floor Remarks on Day 3 of Trump Shutdown
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of U.S. House of Representatives calling on House Republicans to join Democrats to meet the urgent needs of the American people and end the Trump Shutdown. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Here we are, Mr. Speaker, another day to take a deep breath. As you know, our responsibility is to pass a budget that meets the needs of the American people. Since September 30, which was the end of the fiscal year, we have not done that.
Today, we're gathered to do our [fourth] continuing resolution. You will know all the statements that have been made by [Department of Defense] Secretary [General Jim] Mattis and others about how destructive that is to our national security.
I want to make a few points. First of all, I want to say a dark cloud is lying over the Capitol and that is the Trump GOP Tax Scam. Under that legislation, nearly $2 trillion will be added to the national debt.
And that's bad enough in itself, but it also has cast a shadow over the ability of this House to honor its responsibilities to the American people. We take an oath of office to protect and defend the American people and our Constitution. We know that it is our first responsibility. And we stand ready to join in funding our military to do that.
So, for the Republicans to say we were shutting down government because – we weren't shutting down government. You shut down government. But let's put that aside as we go forward.
Let us stipulate to the fact that we will all agree that we need to support our troops in the manner that the mission it established calls for – one. Two, the other part of that debate is about the domestic agenda. The domestic agenda includes opioids, veterans, issues like that that are a part of our national security. Homeland Security, Veterans' Affairs, State Department, anti-terrorism activities at the Justice Department. The list goes on of things that are part of the security function that are on the domestic side. Our colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle have been reluctant to support domestic agendas. That's just the way it is.
And I think that's one of the reasons the Speaker has increased the defense spending so you can get their votes, even though they don't want to vote for the domestic spending.
If we're going to honor the commitment – the dollar figure that is in the authorization of the Department of Defense bill, and honor, honor the budget agreement, we will be adding $300 billion to the deficit. Maintaining parity. I just want our Republican colleagues to know when they are voting for a CR to take us to the next step, the next step, if it honors the commitments that have been made, will be $300 billion. Over and above the $2 trillion.
And just say that because of Republican colleagues’ dark cloud – I have heard you say, well, we have a big deficit so we have to look at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, all those initiatives. [If] we're not going to honor that and we're not going to honor other commitments because of this Tax Scam and this Trump Shutdown, then we have a problem going forward. It's not about one set of children versus another. It's about values. The Republicans have put forth what they did with CHIP, which in the Senate they've never shown much of an interest in, all of a sudden it was CHIP, their chit. CHIP was their chit. They put it on the table. They said America is a country of Sophie's Choice: you either choose the DREAMers or the CHIP kids. No, we all support all of that. America can take care of all of its children, their safety, their health, their well-being.
So the dark cloud of the tax bill – a real problem as we go forward in the decisions we have to make to meet the needs of the American people.
So as Mr. [Whip Steny] Hoyer said, ‘This is a budget debate.’ The DREAMers part of it is a part that has come into it. If there were never ever a DREAMer on the face of the earth – thank God there are DREAMers, but if there weren’t – we would have this challenge: the lack of interest on the part of Republicans in the House to vote for a domestic budget that meets the needs of the American people, using the excuse of the budget deficit, which didn't seem to bother them when they gave away the store to the richest people in the country, the top 1 percent and corporate America.
So as we face this decision today, no drama event as far as I’m concerned, the Senate Democrats' movement in terms of getting a commitment on how we go forward on the budget and how we go forward on DREAMers, good for them.
Our Members will make their decision about how they wish to vote, but understand this. This isn't just about the DREAMers. This is about who we are as a nation in terms of honoring our – what we care about most in our country and how we put that into a budget in terms of fighting the opioid epidemic, meeting the needs of our veterans, especially in terms of infrastructure, issues that relate to the National Institutes of Health and the investments there. CHIP, really, with Community Health Centers, medical education for primary care doctors and the list goes on and on.
So this will be a lively debate about a number of subjects as we go forward. But understand this, it will increase the national debt and it didn't have to have such an impact if we didn't have the GOP Tax Scam which led to the Trump Shutdown.
With that I yield back.