Pelosi Remarks at Media Stakeout Ahead of GOP Vote for Trump Shutdown
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C – Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of House Republicans’ planned vote to have a Trump Shutdown of the federal government. Below are the Speaker-designate’s remarks:
Speaker-designate Pelosi. Good evening. For a number of weeks now, House and Senate Democrats and Republicans have worked together to put together an appropriations bill to meet the needs of the American people and now to keep government open. Somehow or other, and I don't know what the answer to the question is, the President of the United States prefers to shut government down and will resist any opportunity to keep government open.
Again, we are completely ready, as we have been for a while, with bipartisan, bicameral legislation to pass six appropriations bill and have a continuing resolution for the seventh bill if we cannot come to terms on that. We've offered that to the President. We've with also offered him seven – one continuing resolution with seven bills in it.
Yesterday the United States Senate passed legislation overwhelmingly, and I'll yield to the distinguished Leader in the Senate to talk about that. The President is doing everything that he can to shut the government down. We have to ask the question, why does he not believe in governance? Does he not care about the American people? Doesn't he know that the economy is uncertain? Hasn't he followed the stock market that he likes to brag about sometimes? There is something wrong with this picture.
Especially in the holiday season, and so if they make the bill bad enough, if they're able to get maybe enough votes on the House side for a shameful bill that is unworthy of this House of Representatives and certainly of the American people, but I yield to the distinguished Leader from the Senate.
Senator Schumer. Well, thank you, Leader Pelosi. Now, today's events have made one thing clear, President Trump is plunging the country into chaos. The stock market's down another 500 points. General Mattis is stepping down, and we know he has real disagreements with the President on Syria and on the wall. And now, President Trump is throwing a temper tantrum and creating the Trump Shutdown of the government.
Last night, the Senate passed, by voice, unanimously, a bill proposed by Leader McConnell. All Speaker Ryan has to do is put it on the Floor of the House. It'll get a majority of votes, and the President can sign it and avoid a shutdown, but unfortunately, President Trump was attacked this morning and last night by the hard right. And, fearful, he backed off his commitment to sign this bill.
Republican leaders told us yesterday that he was ready to sign the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate unanimously. Every Democrat and every Republican voted to avoid a government shutdown. The bill contained neither Democratic demands nor Republican demands. It said to the American people: we have a way to keep the government open. And Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell and myself have done everything we can to avoid a shutdown, but President Trump wants one. He's asked for one 25 times, and he said in front of us he'd be proud to shut down the government. It is nothing to be proud of.
The bottom line is simple: the Trump temper tantrum will — he said in front of us he'd be proud to shut down the government. It is nothing to be proud of. The bottom line is simple: the Trump temper tantrum will shut down the government, but it will not get him his wall. The bill that's on the Floor of the House, everyone knows will not pass the Senate.
Speaker Ryan, Leader McCarthy have cynically put it on the Floor of the House knowing it can't pass the Senate. Everyone knows it can't pass the Senate – it's a cynical attempt, a cynical attempt to just hurt innocent people and do just what President Trump wants even though they probably know it's bad for the country.
So, bottom line is very simple: there's still hope. Leader Pelosi and I have put two proposals on the table — we have not taken them off – that would avoid a government shutdown and get a majority of votes in the House and Senate. Leader McConnell put on the Floor last night a proposal that would avoid shutting down the government. It is a shame that this President, who is plunging the nation into chaos, is throwing another temper tantrum and going to hurt lots of innocent people. The Trump temper tantrum may produce a government shutdown, it will not get him his wall.
Q: Mr. Leader, what happens next in the Senate if this bill does pass the House tonight?
Senator Schumer. Well, Leader McConnell has said he would schedule a vote. It clearly will not come close to getting the 60 votes that it needs and then Leader Pelosi and I, and probably Senator McConnell, would hope that the House would then consider passing the bipartisan, unanimously-passed bill that the Senate would pass. Whether they'll do that or not, your guess is as good as mine.
Donald Trump wants a shutdown, and they seem to be so afraid that they're going to go along. We'll see.
Q: Leader Pelosi, a couple of minutes ago you told some of us that you were shaken by the news of Jim Mattis' resignation, why are you shaken by the news?
Speaker-designate Pelosi. Well, I'm shaken by the news because of the patriot General, Secretary Mattis is. I think everyone in the country should read his letter of resignation. It's a letter of great patriotism, respect for the President, but also a statement of his values where he talks about the strength of our nation is intrinsically linked, the strength of a unique and comprehensive system of alliances that we have.
That he talks about that we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose countries whose interests are increasingly in tensions with ours. The list – it's a beautiful letter about, again, our values as a nation in terms of our national security written by a patriotic American who was a comfort to many of us as a voice of stability in the Trump Administration.
So just look at this week: the President taking troops out of Syria without really full consultation with his — with national security leaders of own Administration. The President taking actions that encourage his Secretary of Defense to issue a letter of resignation, his reversing his position about signing a bill.
Maybe he thinks if government's shut down, he can golf more comfortably. That's not how it works. Government must work even if you're golfing for two weeks. So there's something very wrong with this picture and this resignation is one. We were just briefed a weak ago, by Secretary Mattis and Secretary Pompeo, and that was last Thursday, so it was one week ago. Our troops look to Secretary Mattis as a leader, and now he is going to be leaving them. This is very serious for our country, I yield.
Senator Schumer. Yeah, Secretary Mattis was one of the few symbols, the few icons of strength and stability in this Administration, everything that indicates stability, everything that indicates strength, everything that indicates knowledge is leaving this Administration. General Kelly, General Mattis, so many others, General McMaster, exactly. There is chaos now in this Administration. This week was one of the most chaotic weeks we've ever seen in American government, and amazingly, they want to close the week, President Trump does, by shutting down the government. Shutting down the government.
Now, we all know that Secretary Mattis had real disagreements with the President. On Syria and on the wall. Some have speculated that the President was going to demand that he start building a wall, which he knows he can't do by law, and maybe that's one of the reasons he stepped down.
Q: Leaders, do you think there's any reasonable prospect that if there is a shutdown, you could override President Trump’s veto of a CR in the next week or so?
Senator Schumer. You'd have to ask our Republican friends.
Speaker-designate Pelosi. It's strange about how our Republican friends, the worse he gets, the more they rally around him. And this, just to refer back to what Leader Schumer was saying about the voice of stability in this Administration and the people who have left: you have leaders, great leaders who have left the Administration in dismay, and the rest of them have left in disgrace. That's what this Administration has been about. We don't want to be fearmongers in terms of our country. This great country can withstand just about anything, but it shouldn't have to. It shouldn't have to.
So, yes, I am shaken by the resignation of General Mattis for what it means to our country, for the message it sends to our troops and for the indication of what his view is of the Commander-in-Chief.
Q: Are Americans less safe without General Mattis, should people be fearful?
Senator Schumer. Look, our military soldiers, the 2.15 million of them, our civilian employees and defense looked up to General Mattis, I'm sure they feel it's a great loss. I'm sure most Americans feel it's a great loss and everything like that happens, the resignation of a strong leader, gives the American people less and less faith in President Trump and the way he governs.
Speaker-designate Pelosi. It's just all the more reason for us to pray for our country. Our country has been blessed in so many ways by leaders throughout the centuries, decades, and some of them, one of them, General Mattis. This is a very sad day for our country. Read his letter – have you read his letter? Read his letter. And examine the activities that have led up to it and what it means. Because of his leadership, we are safe, yes. And we have to pray that we're safe, and we have to continue to make sure that means people are assured we're safe. That's the oath of office we take, to protect and defend, and we will. We shouldn't have to do so because of the temper tantrums of the Commander-in-Chief.
Senator Schumer. Last question.
Q: Now that the Senate is going to have a number of key cabinet posts that they're going to be forced to confirm here in a very short period of time, is your caucus able to work with the Administration with this new round of appointments?
Senator Schumer. Well, you know, unlike previous presidents, Democratic and Republican, there's no consultation. They don't call us and say: what do you think of this person, what do you think of that person? And most of the nominations have been so below par in their ethical standards, in their ability to govern, in their ideology which is so far over, and I hoped there'd be a change, but given the past group of nominees, I don't. So they're going to get very, very thorough examinations. They're going to get serious, serious questions, and in the past, almost all of them have not passed muster. Thank you.
Speaker-designate Pelosi. Thank you, all. Read the letter.
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