Pelosi Floor Speech in Opposition to the Republican Job-Killing, Seniors-Betraying Budget

Oct 5, 2017
Press Release

Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives to express her opposition to the House Republicans’ radical budget which devastates America’s investments in good-paying jobs, growing wages and the bedrock promise of a secure and healthy retirement.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I thank the gentleman [Rep. John Yarmuth] for his great leadership as a Ranking Member on the Budget Committee in the House and I thank all the Members on the Budget Committee for their great work to make this budget – the Yarmuth budget – a statement of our values.  That’s exactly what a federal budget should be; a federal budget should be a statement of our national values, what is important to us as a country.

Speaker.  Madam Speaker, the House is not in order.

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you.

Speaker.  The committee will be in order.

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Speaker.  Please take your conversations off the floor, the gentlewoman is recognized.

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I’ll say it again, our federal budget should be a statement of our national values.  What is important to us as nation should be reflected in the priorities that we place into that budget – and I just can't – this budget that is before us, proposed by the Republicans, is just the opposite of that.  It is accompanied by the tax proposal that they put, one of the biggest transfers of wealth to the wealthiest people in our country, in our country's history.  Every time they do, it they make it worse.  

I’ll let you be the judge.  Is it a statement of our national values to cut $1 trillion from Medicaid, to take Medicaid down a bad path in order to give tax cuts to the richest people in our country?

Members.  No! 

Leader Pelosi.  Our distinguished Ranking Member has listed some of the things that would be cut if we went down this unfortunate path proposed by our colleagues on the other side.  This is a budget, their budget, that steals from the middle class.  Steals hundreds of billions of dollars from critical job-creating, wage-increasing investments in infrastructure, job training and clean energy.  It harms veterans, it cuts education, it abandons rural America, as it guts education. 

This is really a mystery to me, because when you cut education – with stiff competition, this is one of the worst budget decisions that you have made.  Because nothing brings more money to the Treasury than investing in education: early childhood, K-12, higher education, post-grad, lifetime learning for our workers.  That is how you grow the economy.  That is how you bring money to the Treasury.  Not by cutting it in order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country.  

Is it a statement of values to cut that education so that you have a tax cut that benefits 80% – I know you don't want the public to hear this and I can understand why. 

Speaker.  The gentleman's correct.  The House is not in order.  The gentlewoman is recognized. 

Leader Pelosi.  How could it be a statement of the values of the American people to cut the education of our children in order to have a tax cut that 80% of it benefits the top 1% of people in our country?  It's just not right.  And as they do that, the deficit hawks which seem to be an endangered species on the Republican side of the aisle these days, are adding over $2 trillion, close to $2.4 trillion, to the deficit, not counting debt service, interest on that national debt.  Then they say, ‘oh, that's ok we need to increase the national debt by trillions of dollars so that we can give tax cuts.’  Where do the tax cuts go?  $2.6 trillion to corporate America and guess what happens to the middle class?  $470 billion in tax increases to the middle class, about a half a trillion dollars in increases to the middle class, $2.5 trillion in tax cuts to corporate America.

Again, adding so much to the deficit.  Now, they say, ‘oh, trickle-down economics, it's going to pay its own way, we'll get that money back.’  Not so, never happens, nonsense.  But don't take it from me.  

No less a figure than Bruce Bartlett who worked for Congressman Jack Kemp, a real supporter of supply-side economics, and as was said, supply-side turned into trickle-down, et cetera, as a proponent of supply-side economics he said, ‘we never said it would pay for itself, we just advocated an economic approach.  But anyone who says,’ and this is his quote, ‘that the whole supply-side dynamic scoring pays for itself’ – part of this argument – ‘is all nonsense.  It's not true.’  He went on to say that it was, ‘bull…’ – you finish the sentence. 

So here we are, at a place where we can increase the deficit, decrease job creation, hurt the middle class, benefit the top 1%, add to the national debt in historic proportions that would be very hard to come back from, deficit hawks, if any of you exist over there.  Instead, we have an opportunity today for a Better Deal for the American people: better jobs, better pay, better wages, better future.  Where we lower costs for America’s working families and middle class families and where we prepare them with the tools for the economy of the 21st century. 

So I thank the gentleman, the distinguished gentleman from Kentucky, the Chair of the Bourbon Caucus, for his great leadership, and bringing a better budget that is a statement of our national values, that supports American workers with responsible tax reform, calls for parity between defense and nondefense, defends and strengthens ACA [Affordable Care Act] and protects Medicare.  Every time the Republicans come to the floor and try to stack the deck even further for their wealthy friends, we have to have this conversation.  Democrats will fight these tax cuts and this unfortunate, deceptive budget that they have on the Floor. 

I urge my colleagues to start by voting no today and continue to fight, the conversation with the American people to fight this unfortunate path they want to take us down, the road to ruin.  I urge a no vote and I yield back the balance of my time.

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