Pelosi Remarks at Unveiling of New ‘Better Deal’ Proposal to Protect Pensions
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Democratic Members of the House and Senate and retired Teamsters and miners to unveil a new plank of ‘A Better Deal’ that would ensure the pensions that American workers have earned over a lifetime of work are safeguarded and protected into the future. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you, [Congressman] Bobby [Scott]. Thank you, all. Thank you all for being here. It is a special occasion, indeed, because we are fulfilling our purpose and our purpose is to fulfill the needs of the American people. Mike has on his shirt, ‘Broken promises make broken lives.’ That is something we have to dispel and this legislation will do that.
So you’ve heard the particulars of the bills, you’ve heard the commitments from our colleagues, you’ve heard what Rita has to say. Wouldn’t Butch be proud of Rita today?
And wouldn’t he be happy Mike Walden is here to be with us today? And I know he would be very happy to see his family here today – his grandchildren.
This is about the future. It’s about family, it’s about the future and it’s about our country. We are very proud that [Senator] Sherrod Brown and Senator [Tammy] Baldwin are two veterans of the House of Representatives – we take great pride in their leadership in the United States Senate on issues that relate to America’ working families.
I am especially, also pleased – you heard from [Congresswoman] Cheri Bustos in the beginning – Cheri is one of the co-chairs of our communication [committee] and helped develop an economic message – ‘A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future.’ And within ‘Better Deal’ is our commitment to fix the pension system. Thank you [Congresswoman] Cheri Bustos for your leadership in that regard.
Four other heroes are with us as well – references have already been made on the great leadership on this and other subjects – [Congresswoman] Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, may I say, [Congresswoman] Debbie Dingell who has the largest number of pensioners in her district – thank you, Debbie Dingell. A person who has been our navigator through all of this, from New Jersey, [Congressman] Donald Norcross – thank you, Donald, for your leadership. And from the iron range of Minnesota, a person who delivers this message at home and in the caucus, a once and again Member of Congress – he was here before, he came back again, the fight was within him – [Congressman] Rick Nolan.
When I asked [Congressman] Richie [Neal] to take up this responsibility I had only two words of instruction to him, or suggestions, shall we say: no cuts.
No cuts. [Chants]
He and [Congressman] Bobby Scott – who has done great work on this – he and Bobby Scott – their committees share jurisdictions – worked together to bring us to where we are today and, again, it is a great day.
I’m just going to share a personal story because my mine worker friends who have been to my office many times and they see my friend who sits with me in the office. [Shows coal miner statue]
My father served in Congress from Maryland in the thirties and forties during a ‘New Deal’ – long before I came to Congress, fifty years before I came to Congress from a different state and with a different name – he was Thomas D'Alesandro – and when I became a Member of Congress, he brought me one thing from his office: our friend the miner. And it wasn’t just about being a mine worker, it was about being a worker and he said, ‘This is what our purpose is.’ It was for him in public service. ‘This is your purpose.’ And this is our daily reminder – not just a reminder, we don’t need it – but inspiration.
So when these mine workers came, we were fighting for the health benefits – remember that fight? Okay, we got through that, now the pensions and the Teamsters and the confectioners and on and on among the workers who were threatened. This is our purpose – promises made – promises must be kept. It’s not only that – it’s promises owed – this is money you put into the system – it’s an immorality.
So this guy is not a stranger to my mine worker friends who come by quite a bit in this. I know that without an exception – it is the commitment of the House Democrats to America’s working families and we believe there are enough Republicans who will join us because nothing is more eloquent to a Member of Congress than the voice of his or her own constituents – you have to call – you have to say, as [Congressman] Richie [Neal] said, ‘There is a path.’ As [Congressman] Bobby [Scott] said, ‘There is a plan.’ As Senator [Tammy] Baldwin and Senator [Sherrod] Brown put forth: there is consensus and unity on all of this. We want to get this done as soon as possible and we want to get this done with no cuts. Thank you all very much.
Leader Pelosi. One of the guiding principles throughout all of this is that whatever path this bill took, that the mine workers would be included every step of the way – so it’s a broader bill.
I just want to say, in closing, say thank you for all you coming. Again, reiterate what [Senator] Brown said earlier about the Distinguished Leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer – they’re fighting a fight in committee over there on the health care bill as well as dealing with caps and all other sorts of subjects right now. So I’m holding down the fort here and he’s holding the fort down over there with this legislation, with this bill. As Sherrod [Brown] said, he is fully committed and eager to get moving. So let’s thank [Senator] Chuck Schumer for his leadership on all of this as well.
Thank you all.
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