Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability Ahead of Meeting of Conferees on GOP Tax Bill

Dec 13, 2017
Press Release

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

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer for a press conference ahead of the House and Senate Conferees first public meeting for the GOP Tax Bill.  Below are the Leader’s remarks: 
 
Leader Pelosi Opening Remarks.  
 
Again, I’m pleased to welcome our former colleague on the House side back to the House side, the Senate Democratic Leader [Chuck Schumer].  Mr. Leader, over here, is the room where it happens – you know what’s going to happen in here?  A charade.  
 
They call it a conference but they have already announced that they have concluded the terms of the agreement.  Why would they do that?  Why would they not give the American people a chance to see what they are doing to our economy?  
 
Trillions of dollars of impact on our economy – not one hearing, not one expert that can attest to what they are saying.  What they are doing is dishonest – telling the middle class they’re getting a tax cut when they’re getting a tax hike.  It’s dishonest when they say it’s going to pay for itself.  They’re robbing from the future – they’re robbing from the future – ripping off the middle class and why?  To reward their friends.  Corporate America.  A big tax break for corporate America at the expense of our veterans, our children, America’s working families.  This is really a disgrace.
 
And so, we can find out more about what’s in the tax bill by listening to their lobbyist friends on K Street – they know before the American people know and certainly before Members of Congress.  
 
But we have a message for them: don’t underestimate the intelligence of the American people.  I hope they got that lesson last night – in suburban America where people paid attention, understood the impact of the election.
 
Let me say one more thing before I yield to the distinguished Leader. In our House, when someone gets elected, we seat them, we enfranchise their voters – Republican or Democratic – we don’t say, ‘We have to wait for the paperwork.’  We hear the will of the people.  I hope on the Senate side, the leadership will do the same.  Leader McConnell has said that in past elections.  I know you will remind us about that.  
 
But again, here we are near the room where it happens – but it’s not happening here – it’s happening some other place outside the light of day with the speed of sound to rip off the American people. 
 
With that, I am pleased to yield to the distinguished Leader [Chuck Schumer]. 

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Q:  Republicans say what they learned from the Alabama race is that they need to get things done to show the American people that they can govern.  Is that the correct message?
 
Leader Schumer.  When they say they need to get something done, it’s as if you have a sick patient and instead of curing it, you chop off their right arm and say, ‘We’re getting something done.’  The patient isn’t going to like it too much.
 
Q:  Did the election last night make you both more bullish about taking back the House and Senate next year?
 
Leader Pelosi.  We’ve always been bullish about that.  Someone – one of your associates asked me this morning, ‘Are Democrats more energized?’  Democrats are very energized about that.  But what this is about right now is saving the American people from this monstrosity of a bill that’s going to hurt the country – that’s where we want to keep this focus.
 
I think they are in a lose-lose situation.  If they don’t pass a bill, they pay with their donors.  If they do pass a bill, they lose with the American people.
 
Last night was glorious because of the quality of the person who won – how beautiful he spoke about Alabama sometimes taking the wrong fork in the road but not last night – how he talked about CHIP and how he talked about bringing people together – working in a bipartisan way.  That is energizing to everyone in our country.
 
Right now, we have to defeat this bill because even when we do win, to undo this will cost a fortune and we shouldn’t have to take this bad fork in the road.
 
Leader Schumer.  I think there are a lot of similarities between what happened in Alabama and what happened in Virginia.  First, the base was excited and came out.  I think they are excited because they are seeing the positive things we are saying compared to the Republicans and Donald Trump.
 
Second, the millennials are for us in overwhelming number – when you’re going to make it harder to pay for college, when you’re going to make it harder for the universities to give you scholarships – of course young people are going to be on our side.  They’re making it worse for them.
 
And finally, suburbanites: the swing votes in most of America.  They’re taxing a good number of them, increasing the taxes on suburbanites with the state and local tax deduction being modified and close to repealed.
 
So the groups that seemed to rally to elect a Democratic Governor in Virginia rallied to elect a Democratic Senator in Alabama.  It’s a very hard thing to do and obviously we were aided by [the] candidate on the other side that had his own set of problems. 
 
But that’s not the only reason.  If it was just that candidate’s problems and not the fact that the candidate understands what they’re creating in there and what they’re doing doesn’t help the middle class and helps the wealthiest.  If the public hadn’t realized that we still would’ve lost in Alabama with all the problems that Roy Moore had.
 
Q:  Do you think you can repeat the outreach that he had to demographics that don’t favor Democratic voters?
 
Leader Schumer.  Yes.
 
Leader Pelosi.  And by the way, there are many easier races to win than the race in Alabama.
 
Q:  If you had to distill the lessons that Democrats should take away from what happened last night, how would you describe it?  What lessons should Democrats take away?
 
Leader Schumer.  A. Be unified.  B. Focus like a laser on the middle class.  C. Work with your Republican colleagues when you can for some good alternatives.  And we’re still waiting on our Republican colleagues to come out of that room and actually work with us.
 
Leader Pelosi.  The other message I would – I associate myself with, of course, those three.  But this is about honoring our oath of office to the Constitution.  
 
Our Founders were geniuses – and one of the genius parts of the Constitution was the system of checks and balances.   And that is really an important message throughout our country from a standpoint of values – from a standpoint of policy.
 
From a standpoint of politics – get out the vote.  I mean, that’s just the way it is.  But you can’t get out the vote unless you have energy, unless you have inspiration.  You can’t run on empty.
 
I think that we – what’s happening here is demonstrating a sharp contract between Democrats and Republicans – and that helped get out the vote.
 
Leader Schumer.  In the most fervent Republican districts the turnout was not up.  The Democratic areas, the black belt, the suburbs, the turnout was way up – shows you who’s enthusiastic and who’s a little downcast about their party’s activities here in Washington.
 
Q:  The RNC [Republican National Committee] and NRSC [National Republican Senatorial Committee] said that Doug Jones should think about voting with the Republicans in Alabama that the state is still conservative.  What is reaction to those efforts?
 
Leader Schumer.  Well, Alabama is not the most pro-Trump state of Democrats who are in the Senate.  There are several more Members from those states who are in the Senate.  There are several more. 
 
All of our Members from those states very much want to work with Republicans.  The Republicans don’t want to work with them.  They tried to do their health care bill only with Republicans, they tried to do their tax bill only with Republicans – we hope they won’t repeat the same mistake when we do the end of year spending bills.
 
When they act in a partisan way, they run into all kinds of trouble, passing bad legislation, doing it in the dark of night, and worst of creating legislation that the American people really dislike.
 
Leader Pelosi.  Thank you all very much.

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