Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability as House Democrats Vote to Nominate Her for Speaker of the House
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined her fellow House Democrats for a press availability after the Caucus vote to nominate her for Speaker of the House. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Good afternoon, everyone. And I do believe it is a good afternoon. We had most unifying session just now in the House Democratic Caucus. The new House Democratic Caucus, the most diverse Caucus ever, and it was so inspiring to hear my colleagues place my name in nomination, once again, for Speaker of the House.
How moving it was to hear Joe Kennedy place the name in nomination, to be seconded by Kathy Castor, a colleague that has been the lead in climate change issues and the rest. Of course, Joe, a friend for many years, but a leader in the Congress, making his own mark. And then to have Joyce Beatty to speak in her own right, but to quote President Obama. It was very moving. The emotion demonstrated by my colleague, Adam Schiff, when he talked about leadership and the challenges facing our nation, was a joy to behold.
And the new members, to have the new Members speak out with us now – Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, one of the new Members who spoke, and placing my name in nomination about our shared values. We are also joined by a Member who is very special to me, she is a new Member, a Member of this class, but she's also a returning Member, Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, a woman of great courage, who voted for the Affordable Care Act, didn't come back, said it was worth it and is here again. Thank you, Ann, for joining us.
And, of course, nobody could ever have an honor quite like having this display of friends place my name in nomination than to have John Lewis be the – he wrapped it all up in such a beautiful way, not about me but about our challenges and about our need to be unified for the future. So I’m very, very – just so inspired by it all, and I’m so grateful to my colleagues for what they have done to place my name in nomination.
In the course of these last days and weeks, it has been my privilege to listen to new Members, listen to our Members who have been here a while, hear their views about how we go forward, convinced that everything we said in the campaign about a Congress – a new Congress that is open and transparent, that is accountable to the people, that is unifying in how we do our work and therefore bipartisan to the extent possible – is something that I think that we can, with great dignity, present to the American people as we effect our agenda For The People. Lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, dignity and integrity in government and some other issues as we move forward.
We're going to have a Congress – sessions of Congress that are like – that are like America’s town hall meeting, where the miracle of technology will enable us to communicate very directly in the social media, help us engage the public, be responsive to them, and also to mobilize around the issues of importance to us and amass resources, intellectual, political to re-elect this spectacular class as we move to, again, winning the White House in 2020.
I couldn't be more honored – that is a figure of speech but is a fact in this case, as true as any statement anyone could ever make, to be honored by the nomination of those who placed my name in nomination and the support I have from our colleagues in this Caucus. As I say, our diversity is our strength, but our unity is our power. We will use that power, again, in a unifying way for our country.
I'm very proud. We look forward to the results, whatever they are. They will be intense and they will be a vote of confidence to send me – my name to the floor, that I'm proud to be the nominee of the House Democratic Caucus, once again, for Speaker of the House. Again, in a Congress where we will observe the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote. A very special honor. So thank you, all.
Q: Do you have the votes you will need in January?
Leader Pelosi. I think we're in pretty good shape. Again, I don't want to speak – I don't want to make other people's announcements for them, but we go forward with confidence and humility. So –
Q: Kathleen Rice just put out a statement –
Leader Pelosi. Excuse me, do you have any questions about our plans and how we go forward?
Q: She just put out a statement saying she met with her and you dismissed her concerns outright about –
Leader Pelosi. Let me tell you something. I'm talking about scores of Members of Congress who just gave me a vote – giving me a vote of confidence. That is where our focus is. Are there dissenters? Yes, but I expect to have a powerful vote as we go forward. Any other questions?
Q: When you went to the White House that one time, you came back and you said, ‘Do women get to talk around here?’ How do you think President Trump is going to react to having to work with a woman in such position of power as you would hold as Speaker?
Leader Pelosi. I will say this, when I was Speaker and President Bush was President, he treated me and the office I hold with great respect. He would jovially call me Number Three. He's number one. The Vice President was number two. I was number three. He never began a meeting unless the Speaker was present. We worked together on many issues relating to energy, passing the biggest energy bill in the history of our country. PEPFAR. He wanted PEPFAR. We had PEPFAR. This related to tax policies that gave refundabilities for people in our country. The list goes on and on.
I would expect nothing less than that from this President of the United States. We are a co-equal branch of government. My power there springs from the vote of the Members of the House of Representatives. I think that the President will be respectful of that.
Q: Madam Leader, you've been a Leader for a long time. What was different about counting the votes this time?
Leader Pelosi. This is all the same. One time I didn't have an opponent. I always had – not an opponent but opposition. Today it didn't materialize into an opponent. But, no, every Congress I spend a lot of time listening to Members, new Members and Members who are returning, to hear what their prospects are for the future.
So, when people say, ‘You're so busy,’ I say, ‘No busier than ever,’ because every Congress I listen, I learn, we incorporate, we are invigorated by new Members coming in and new thinking of our Members. This was no different than anything ever before. It is different – we have an historic freshman class by dint of their experience, their diversity, their gender. It's something very, very special. Let us just take a moment to dwell around the fact that we are in the majority. Majority, majority, majority!
And that our Ranking Members in a matter of weeks will be Madam and Mr. Chair, and that is a great thing for the American people. We have been deputized to be a check and balance on the President and other branches of government and we will do that with dignity. Thank you, all, very much. Thank you.
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