Pelosi Remarks at American Federation of Teachers Press Event

Jul 19, 2017
Press Release

Contact: Ashley Etienne/Caroline Behringer, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and members of the public to rally in opposition to Republicans’ Trumpcare bill and budget proposal which would strip funding from students, teachers, nurses and health workers. Below are the Leader’s remarks: 
Leader Pelosi.  I am Randi [Weingarten]'s friend.  Aren't we proud of her?  Isn’t she fabulous?  Aren’t we proud of her, Madam President?  Doesn’t she inspire us?  One thing about Randi, Madam President, she does not agonize, she organizes!  

So thank you Randi, for your kind words and more importantly, thank you to teachers, nurses and health care workers of AFT for what you are doing to protect the good health of the American people.  It’s not just about health care, the good health and well-being of our country. 

What an honor it is to be here, AFT, with your president.  What an honor it was a couple days ago to go be with AFSCME and Lee Saunders who was here, thank you Lee for once again for – have you been out here these past few days, never going home?  Still here and what an honor it is for all of us to be here with Richard Trumka [President of AFL-CIO], Mr. President, thank you for your great leadership as well. 

So here we are.  We have plenty of work to do.  This thing, like a zombie, keeps coming back to life.  We want to bury it deep into the earth.  And because of you, because your voices were heard, because of Randi [Weingarten]’s leadership and Lee’s leadership and Richard [Trumka]’s leadership, Mr. President and Madam President’s leadership, the Senate of the United States cannot pass their monstrosity of a bill that undermines the health and well-being of America’s working families.  

So here we are.  We are at a week where they are coming out with a budget, a budget that should be a statement of our national values, what’s important to us should be reflected in how we allocate our resources.  Instead they have a budget that takes away money from Title I from Title II, from the education of our children in order to give tax cuts to the richest people in America.  Is that a statement of your values?

[Crowd:  No!]

I didn’t think so!  Instead, you know, they ask me, what are the three most important issues facing the economy, I always say the same thing all the time: our children, our children, our children.  Their health, their education, the economic security of their families, clean safe environment in which they can thrive, a world at peace in which they can reach their fulfillment.  And what do we have in this budget, that cuts their education, undermines their health care, terrible cuts to Medicaid, what a disgrace.  Cuts the EPA, clean air, clean water, for our children to be healthy and safe.

A bill that is horrible in so many respects, including cutting the soft power of diplomacy to keep peace in the world for our children to live in a more peaceful place with less violence.  A terrible, terrible budget, but it is a path for them.  A path to bring up a tax bill that will give tax breaks to the richest people in America at the expense of investments in the future of our children: their health, their education, and their well-being.

A budget that says we do not measure the strength of our country in the health, education, and wellbeing of our people.  We only measure it in military might and do you know what that does?  It requires more military might.  It takes us down the wrong path.  

We take an oath to protect and defend.  Whatever the mission is, whatever we need, as President Kennedy said, ‘fight any foe.’  But that is not the point of this.

This is supposed to be a budget that prevents the spread of violence.  Instead they have a budget that stirs it up.  So again, three things: the healthcare bill, which is not a healthcare bill, it is a tax bill disguised as a healthcare bill. It is a bill that cuts hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicaid and taking it from working families, beyond Medicare, working families, to give tax breaks to the richest people in America. 

They want to that first before they do a tax bill because their tax bill is all about tax breaks for the high end at the expense of working families. 

And a budget that says, ‘Oh my gosh with all these tax breaks how are we going to manage the budget.  We have to cut education.  We have to cut food stamps.  We have to cut EPA, clean air, clean water.’  You name it!

So understand, that what your presence here today [does] – we are the crux of it all.  The budget.  Health care.  Tax breaks for the rich.  Tax breaks for the rich dominates it all. 

So know your power.  Congratulations on making your voices heard in such an effective way.  It’s not over my friends.  This fight will continue! But I thank you because what you are doing really honors the values of our Founders about a country committed to life, a healthier life; committed to liberty, economic and health liberty; to pursue happiness. 

Thank you for your patriotism!  Thank you for your activism!  Know your power!  

Agonize – NOT!  Organize – YES! 

Thank you all very much!  Let’s hear it again for Randi Weingarten and AFT [American Federation Of Teachers] – thank you very much! 

Kids not cuts! Kids not cuts! Kids not cuts!

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