Pelosi Remarks at Media Stakeout Following White House Meeting
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C – Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for a media stakeout following their White House meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Below are the Speaker-designate’ s remarks:
Speaker-designate Pelosi. As I have mentioned to the President, he has the White House, the Senate, he has the House of Representatives all in Republican control, and he has the power to keep government open. Instead, he has admitted in this meeting that he will take responsibility.
The Trump Shutdown is something that can be avoided, that the American people do not need at this time of economic uncertainty, people losing jobs, the market in a mood and the rest. It is a luxury. The Trump Shutdown is a luxury that the American people cannot afford.
I told the President, our Leader – distinguished Senate Leader will talk about two proposals that we made to the President. After he tells you about the proposals, I will tell you the other statement I made to the President.
Senator Schumer. Okay. The bottom line is simple. The President made clear that he wants a shutdown. His position, if he sticks to his position for $5 billion wall, he will get no wall and he will get a shutdown. The bottom line is very, very simple. And that is we want border security, and we offered him border security, but Americans know that the wall, not paid for by Mexico anymore, is not the way to border security and the experts say that.
We offered the President two ways to avoid a shutdown. First, pass the six other appropriations bills that have been agreed to by the Democrats and the Republicans, and do a one-year extension of the Homeland Security bill by what’s called a CR, which funds it the same way as last year, or do a one-year CR for all seven remaining appropriations bills. Both of those ways, we gave the President two ways, each of which would get a majority of the votes in the House and 60 votes in the Senate and would avoid a shutdown. We hope that he will take it because a shutdown hurts too many innocent people and this Trump shutdown, this temper tantrum that he seems to throw, will not get him his wall, and it is going to hurt a lot of people, because he is going to cause a shutdown. He admitted that he wanted a shutdown. It is hard to believe that he would want that.
Speaker-designate Pelosi. Unfortunately, should the President choose to shut down the government, that we have a Trump Shutdown as a Christmas present, a holiday present to the American people – I told the President that the new House of Representatives, when it convenes, will pass what Mr. Schumer suggested here, the distinguished Senate Leader suggested, in terms of passing the six bills: the six appropriation bills that are agreed to in a bipartisan way and have a continuing resolution until September 30th for the Homeland Security bill, during which time we can discuss these issues further.
I told the President that would happen and we will send it to the Senate, he says, ‘Oh, we can pass it in the House.’ His bill in the House and he does not have the votes in the House to pass whatever his agenda is with that wall in it.
We are telling him that we will keep government open with the proposal that Mr. Schumer suggested. Why doesn't he just think about it? And in fact, I asked him to pray over it.
Senator Schumer. One final point – no, no, no, stop. One final point. The $1.3 billion dollars that we gave him last year for border security – no wall, but border security – less than 6 percent of it has been spent. They have not spent last year's money, and they are demanding much, much more this year. So, we will take questions on this subject only.
Q: Madam Speaker, given what we saw in there and the bickering and the back and forth and what does this say about your ability to work with the President over the next two years?
Speaker-designate Pelosi. Well, I told the President as I have said over and over again, this new Congress will be something different from the Congress that we have now. It'll be a Congress of transparency. So that the American people can see – not passing a tax bill with $7 trillion impact on the economy in the dark of night, speed of light, so that nobody can see what it is without hearings or any expert opinions on it, and is so it would be about transparency.
It will be about reaching out, and extending the hand of friendship to work in a bipartisan way to find common ground where we can, and stand our ground – as Thomas Jefferson said, ‘like a rock’ – where we can't.
Honoring the guidance of the Founders, E Pluribus Unum – from many, one – and we did not come here to divide, but to unify, and we extend that hand of friendship to him, and he seemed to like that course of action, but if he does not accept the hand of friendship, we will still be who we are – dignified and respectful of the institution that we represent in the Congress and honoring the vision of our Founders.
Q: What was it like behind the scenes –
Speaker-designate Pelosi. You asked if it was more productive behind the scenes, and I can hear some of the reporters saying, some of the Fox reporters saying ‘why do we not want transparency in this discussion? We don't want to contradict the President when he is putting forth figures with no reality to them, and no basis in fact, and if we are going to proceed in all of this, have evidence-based factual and truthful information about what works and what doesn't. I did not want to, in front of those people say, that ‘You don't know what you are talking about.’
Leader Schumer. And one other thing here, the President, the President said things are working quite well at the border, well, we want to give him the same thing that he had last year. If they worked well last year, they should work well this year and he shouldn’t shut down the government. Thank you, everybody.
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