Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference Following Congressional Delegation Trip to Flint, Michigan
Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616
Flint, MI – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at a press conference following the Congressional delegation trip to Flint, Michigan to hear from the residents impacted by the Flint water crisis. Below are the Leader’s remarks followed by the question and answer session:
“Thank you very much, [Congressman] Dan Kildee for having us here, for the hospitality you and so many others have extended – the entire Michigan delegation – I know that Brenda Lawrence is still with us here, but the Dean of our delegation, John Conyers, may still be joining us and 11 – of course Debbie Dingell – a very distinguished delegation, indeed. And when they speak, Congress listens. And when they speak, the Administration listens. And what we know, from they’ve told us and what we’ve heard today, is that what is happening in Flint challenges the conscience of our nation. This is a tragedy of such magnitude because it breaks the bond that people have with the government to be there on issues like the safety of the water our children drink, the air they breathe, the safety of their food.
“I’m a mother of five, a grandmother of nine. I’m in politics and government because of the one in five children in America who lives in poverty. I think it’s appalling that we, the greatest country in the world, have that situation. And if you compound it with what we see here in Flint and what we further learn today, we know that we have to act. We’ve come here to listen, to learn, to act upon what we have – put together after this, so that we can give hope and healing.
“The mayor has been so wonderful. She came to Washington, brought a team [and] testified. And I have to say, people came up to me after that hearing and said it was, maybe, one of the best hearings they had ever been to in Congress because of the evidence that was presented in a way that was a call to action.
“So, it is now my pleasure to return here – we’ve had briefing after briefing, so we came here informed. The Members of our delegation lead their committees, lead their task force. They are people of action, and as we’ve said to the folks gathered there listening to their pain: we don’t agonize, we organize. And we are going to organize to make the fastest possible difference because what the people want to see are results – shared values, solutions springing from their concerns. And nobody is a better catalyst for that, of course, in the Congress than Dan Kildee, but as the mayor of the city, she was welcomed in Washington, her testimony made a difference, continues to make a difference. I’m pleased to yield to the great Mayor of Flint, Mayor Weaver.”
Q: This is for Leader Pelosi. We heard it last night in the GOP debate; it’s been a line we’ve heard a lot here in Michigan and you touched on it earlier – Republicans keep saying that Democrats are politicizing this issue. I want to know what do you make of that? Is this visit…
Leader Pelosi. For the one fleeting second that they addressed the challenged to the conscience to our country Flint is, I think that was really an embarrassment. I think that today is one of the least political days I have spent. This isn’t about politicizing. This is about accountability, it’s about helping, it’s about healing, it’s about giving people hope and it’s about not underutilizing any resource to do that at every level. When I hear Dan Kildee and the mayor speak about the state’s role, and the governor and the rest of that, unleash – let some of that money flow. Let some of that money flow to Flint. You can do it now. So, this is about government – it’s not about politics.
Q: Are national Republicans taking this seriously?
Leader Pelosi. I don’t think you saw that in the debate last night, did you? To be by proximity to Flint, so close, and not to even take it to enlarge the issue – not only to enlarge the issue, to say: This is terrible what happened in Flint. But how many other people in our country are at risk? Under the leadership of – well, she’s gone now – Congresswoman Lawrence we had a meeting last week with the U.S. [Army] Corps of Civil Engineers and – what’s the title? No, no, this is the Corps of Civil Engineers. And their rating for water in our country – water resources, how we deliver water – is ‘D’. So, this is the canary in the mine, whatever analogy you want to use. But this is a very major responsibility that, in my view, has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with our responsibility to the American people. I had said yesterday in a press conference in D.C. in working with the Speaker on this issue, I saw nothing but signs of good will as we would go forward because they are not in denial. The presidentials may be in denial and the governor may be in denial but with the airing witness that all of these Members have both from Michigan and beyond, there’s a recognition that we all have a responsibility. And our role in governance not in politics is what we are about with this.
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