Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CNN's State of the Union With Jake Tapper

Oct 25, 2021
Press Release

Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,

202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union to discuss the Build Back Better Agenda, the work of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, our progress combating the COVID-19 pandemic and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

 

Jake Tapper.  Thanks so much for joining us, Madam Speaker.  Appreciate it.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  My pleasure to be here.  Thank you.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, how close are you to a deal on this larger package of elder care, day care, child care, family leave, that stuff, whatever you want to call the bill?  The social safety net bill, we call it.  And will President Biden have a deal in hand when he leaves for Europe this week?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, first, thank you for the opportunity to talk about that this morning.  I'm glad that you talked about COVID in your opening here, because that's how we start all of our meetings: ‘What are we doing to protect the American people, to stop the spread of COVID?’

 

And I want to commend President Biden for having a completely different approach than his predecessor on this.  We have to correct a lot of what went wrong then.  And we're on a good path.  And the good news about children being safely able to be vaccinated is something that will help stop the spread.

 

So, thank you for focusing on that, because that is –

 

Jake Tapper.  We talk about it every day, all day.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  And so do we in the House Democratic Caucus.

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  In terms of where we are, I have said already we have 90 percent of the bill agreed to and written.  We just have some of the last decisions to be made.  It is less than we had – was projected to begin with, but it's still bigger than anything we have ever done in terms of addressing the needs of America's working families.  And it is about all that you said in terms of care, the care piece.

 

But it's also about the climate piece, which is a health issue, a jobs issue, a security issue and a values issue for us.  And we will have something that will help meet the – that will meet the President's goals.  I feel very confident about that, even though it will be different than what we originally proposed.

 

Jake Tapper.  By the time he leaves for Europe, do you think you will have a deal — by Thursday or Friday?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  No, I think we're – I think we're pretty much there now.

 

Jake Tapper.  You think you have a deal now?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  We're almost – we just – it's just the language of it, but it will be – it will not offend, shall we say, the concern that Senator Manchin had about the CEPP.  But, nonetheless, the point is to reach a goal and the President's goals of reaching the emissions, the pollution and all the rest.

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.  So –

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Because we were prepared with our Select Committee, headed by Kathy Castor, we had other options.

 

Jake Taper.  Other ways to pay for it?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  No, other ways to – other ways to reach the goal — and yes, pay for it as well.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, I want to get to that in a second.  But just as a side issue, because there are a lot of people who are very eager for the bipartisan infrastructure bill to come up and be voted on as well.  And progressives have said they're not going to vote for that until there's at least a deal on the larger social safety net bill.  You have said the House must pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by October 31st –

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.

 

Jake Tapper.  Which is a week from today.  Moderates are frustrated; two deadlines have been missed because of the progressives.

 

Do you – are you going to meet that goal?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  No, wait a minute.  There was no deadline that was missed because of the progressives.

 

Jake Tapper.  Okay.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  The deadline was missed because they changed from 3.5 [trillion dollars] to one-half that.  And we have had to go in.  It's lamb eat lamb.  Everything is good in the bill. What do you cut?

 

Jake Tapper.  Okay.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  So, in terms of this date, this date is fraught with meaning because on October 31st is the day that the Highway Trust Fund authorization expires.

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  And if that expires, we have to get billions of dollars someplace to continue that.  The best way to do that is to pass the BIF, having nothing to do with all the other, shall we say, deliberations that are going on.

 

Our Chair of the Committee, Peter DeFazio, who is a master of this, of the infrastructure – Transportation [and] Infrastructure Committee, has said we must pass this right by October 31st.

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.  But the reason I invoked progressives, I'm not blaming anything on them — but I'm just saying they have said, a sizable number of them, enough of them to tank the bill, that they will not vote for the BIF, the bipartisan infrastructure plan –

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Right.

 

Jake Tapper.  Unless there is this framework agreed to.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  No, that's right.  You're absolutely right.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, are you saying, in the next week, the framework will be agreed to or there will be a deal on the social safety net bill?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Let's call it an agreement.

 

Jake Tapper.  An agreement.  There will be an agreement on that.  And you will also vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill?  Both of those things will happen in the next week?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  That's the plan.

 

Jake Tapper.  That's the plan.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  And, right now, we are just, as you indicated, the two Senate – Leader Schumer, Mr. Manchin, Senator Manchin and the President are having that, the meeting on some of the particulars that need to be finalized.

 

And I'm optimistic that we can do that, because, again, one basket was climate –

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Which was jobs bill.  And a bill For The Children, for the future, is the health care piece of it, of strengthening the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid and expanding Medicare.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, let's get into it.  Let's get into some of these issues, because they're important for people to understand.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  And then the third basket, as

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  We're getting into it, just so we have a –

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  The third bucket is the care piece of it.

 

Jake Tapper.  Care, elder care, child care.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Child care.

 

Jake Tapper.  Family leave.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Child care and universal pre-K go together.  Elder care – when we say home health care, that's for elder or children –

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Or siblings who are disabled, or something like that.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, is family leave going to make it into the final bill?  Those four weeks of paid family leave, is that going to be in the final bill?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  That's our hope, yes.

 

Jake Tapper.  That's your hope.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  That's what we're fighting for.  That's what we're fighting for.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, Senator Sinema, who is a key Arizona Democrat vote in the Senate, Senator Sinema has said she will not support raising the corporate tax rate, raising the tax on high wage earners.  And President Biden has acknowledged that might mean you can't pay for the rest of the bill using those sources of revenue.  Do you have an alternate way?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes, we do, because we were ready to pay for 3.5.  So, we certainly can pay for 1-point – half of that.

 

Jake Tapper.  And what are – what is that alternate way?  Is it a billionaires tax?  Is it a minimum tax for corporations?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, the billionaires tax is a – shall we say, has an appeal, but it doesn't produce that much money.  It's – we – because the bill is not written yet – we hope it will be written today and introduced tomorrow – only then can the Joint Tax Committee evaluate what it brings in.  We anticipate $200 billion, $250 billion, but we need closer to $2 trillion.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, where –

 

Speaker Pelosi.  So, we have other things.

 

Jake Tapper.  Such as?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, such as, we have enforcement.  And that's several hundred billion dollars.  We have the overseas harmonization of taxes, and that's a few hundred billion dollars.  We have an array.  We have an array.  And I'm not going to say what they are right here.

 

Jake Tapper.  Corporate minimum tax, so that a – Elizabeth Warren was talking on The Lead  the other day about, if a company like Amazon makes hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars and pays zero, this would be legislation that requires that they pay something.  Is that in there?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, the President during his campaign had a market rate – excuse me – a book rate proposal, and that is being evaluated as well as to how much that brings in, but that's another way to tax the increase in wealth in corporate America.

 

But the thing is, is that whether we use the increase the corporate tax rate, increase in the tax of some the other aspects of it –

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes, wealth tax, billionaires tax.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, no, just some other aspect to it.

 

Jake Tapper.  Okay.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Because we probably will have a wealth tax.

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  But, again, it's only ten percent of what we – you need.  And we – the other things are more like $800 billion versus $200 billion.  But we can use them another time.  They don't go away as a source of revenue to pay for how we go forward.  And we want to pay for what we do.

 

Jake Tapper.  But you said you probably will have a wealth tax?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, that is – we will see.  We haven't seen the bill yet.

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.  And you said also that it's being written right now, and you're going to send it to the –

 

Speaker Pelosi.  This is a Senate proposal.

 

Jake Tapper.  Okay.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  And they supposedly are writing it today.  Tomorrow, they would introduce it.  And then tax – the Joint Tax Committee is the one that says, this is how much you get from that.

 

But again, on our side, we have been totally ready with alternatives.

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  In terms of House and Senate and the White House, we have plenty of alternatives.  We're ready.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, what is your response to progressives who say what the Washington Post Editorial Board said, that Democrats are in danger of breaking the promise to roll back the Trump tax cuts and to fully pay for the plan?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we're going to fully pay for the plan.

 

Jake Tapper.  You are?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  We will probably more than pay for the plan.  And one bill does not make a – we – look.  Look at what the President has done.

 

Jake Tapper.  You might still take another crack at getting rid of the Trump –

 

Speaker Pelosi.  We had the Rescue package, $1.9 trillion.  We have the infrastructure bill, over a trillion dollars.  That's around $3 trillion.  And we will have this at $2 trillion.  Nobody has done anything that remarkable.  So, while it isn't everything that was put out originally, it does – it takes us down a path where we can continue investments in these.  Now, this piece, the care piece that – I did the climate, health – the care piece is the – all three of them make a, transformative for America's working families.

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes, it is a big bill.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  It's a very big bill.

 

Jake Tapper.  And it would do – it would accomplish a lot.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Even at half, it's a very big bill.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, let me ask you, because one of the questions right now is paid family leave.  You said that you hope that that's going to be in there, four weeks of paid family leave.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.

 

Jake Tapper.  And the expansion of Medicare to enjoy – to include, rather, dental, vision and hearing coverage.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.

 

Jake Tapper.  Is that going to be in the bill?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, that's part of the negotiation.  Dental is very expensive.  So, hearing and visual and dental, but dental will take a little longer to implement.  But that's part of the negotiation right now.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, you don't know what's going to be in the final bill?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we will see what –

 

Jake Tapper.  It sounds like you're saying dental might not make it because it's so expensive.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, it will make – it'll be on a path.  It will be on a path.  But what they told us – and I don't quite understand why, but they have, we have been told by people who know about these things that it'll take five, six years in order to implement the dental.

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  So, how do we – how do we, shall we say, fill in the blank there?  Bernie has some suggestions about how to do that.  That will be part of the negotiations.

 

Jake Tapper.  Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Bernie Sanders.

 

Jake Tapper.  Are you frustrated?  I mean, you talk about how you're almost there, except for ten percent of the bill.  And you also talk about how the House is there.  You guys are ready.  You're going to pass it.  And it's really these two Senate holdouts, Sinema and Manchin.  Are you frustrated with them?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I'm respectful of everybody's point of view.  I do not want the Bush tax – excuse me — I don't want the Trump tax cuts perpetuated.  So, I don't want anybody to think that if we don't address those right now, that that's, they're off the table.  No, we will use them for something at some point, because you can't use the wealth tax and tax the billionaires, which is what we should be doing, and let corporate America off the hook.  But corporate America will be paying because of the overseas tax.  And some of the other provisions are very technical to go into right now.

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  We will know more tomorrow to see what makes the cut.

 

Jake Tapper.  What makes the cut.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  And then worth it, the time to go into it.

 

Jake Tapper.  There's also this issue of the debt ceiling, right?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.  Well, that's a different – that's separate.

 

Jake Tapper.  It's a separate issue.  But, but in terms of how you get it through the Congress to President Biden's desk – maybe separate, maybe not.  Congress acted to raise the debt ceiling through December 3rd.  After that, Republican leader, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, says you're on your own, we're not going to provide any votes for Democrats.

 

A default obviously would be devastating for the American economy, for the world economy.  Are you willing to attach raising the debt ceiling to the social safety net package, or, if not, to use reconciliation, which means only 50 votes – 51 votes needed in the Senate anyway, in order to get this done?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  That's one path.  But we're still hoping to have bipartisanship.  It seems that the American people should understand that what we're talking about is largely the Trump debt.

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Now, we participated in some of it with COVID and the rest, but we didn't participate in giving a tax scam, 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent that added $2 trillion to the debt.  President Biden's part of this debt is about three percent.

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  And yet the Republicans, who when President – the former president was in office, three times, we had to do something about the national debt.  Now, look at what is in jeopardy.  Even talking about it is not a good idea, because even placing in doubt whether it –

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  It's not a good idea, because it can lower the credit rating of our country, as it did when the Republicans did not want to increase it when President Obama was president.

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  It seems they're okay with it when there's a Republican president, but not a Democrat.  Six to seven million jobs could be lost.  $15 trillion in household wealth.   Consequences that could last for decades.

 

Jake Tapper.  Why not get rid of the debt ceiling?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, that's what we have a plan to do as well.  There are a number of plans to do that.  But would the Republicans agree to that before we again –

 

Jake Tapper.  Okay.  So, your mind is open in terms of whether or not you use reconciliation or whether or not you attach it to the social safety net bill?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.  But we still would rather have bipartisanship, whether it's a Democratic president or Republican president.

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.  But you probably won't have it, so you will consider these options, is all I'm saying.  I want to ask you –

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.  And it's very, very, very important.

 

Jake Tapper.  Absolutely.

 

The House voted on Friday to hold former Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena.  Do you think people who refuse to comply with Congressional subpoenas should be prosecuted by the Justice Department and, at the end of the day, go to jail?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.

 

Jake Tapper.  You do?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  I do.  I do.  Well, first of all, this – people said, ‘Well, this hasn't happened before.’  We haven't had an insurrection incited by the President of the United States — and one of his toadies having knowledge of, advanced knowledge of that happening.  So, in fact, it's important for a number of reasons.  It's important for us to find the truth about what happened on January 6th, an assault on our Constitution, our Congress and our Capitol.

 

But it's also important to – in terms of the separation of power and the checks and balances of the Constitution, which is the genius of the Constitution, for this to happen in this way.

 

Jake Tapper.  Absolutely.

 

Jake Tapper.  So, you're willing, if the – if the Committee decides to subpoena Trump, you're willing to have that happen, too?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  I'm not – they have everything on the table.  I don't get involved in the decisions of the Committee.

 

Jake Tapper.  Okay.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  But when you say, if he should do this and go to jail, well, he will be tried and see what is...

 

Jake Tapper.  It will be in court.  Yes, a court hearing.  I want you to take a listen to a key moment in which President Biden was talking about voting rights in the CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper the other night.  Take a listen.

 

[Begin video clip]

 

Anderson Cooper.  When it comes to voting rights, just so I'm clear, though, you would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on that one issue?  Is that correct?

 

President Biden.  And maybe more.

 

[End video clip]

 

Jake Tapper.  So, that is President Biden saying that he is willing to entertain the notion of getting rid of the filibuster for Voting Rights Act and maybe for other things as well.  Do you agree with him on that one issue that, at the end of the day, having some sort of voting rights bill is more important than preserving the filibuster, at least for that one vote?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  The most important vote right now in the Congress of the United States is the vote to respect the sanctity of the vote, the fundamental basis of our democracy.  So, if there were one vote that the filibuster could enable to go forward, that would be the vote, and enable so much more, because we're talking about stopping the suppression of the vote and the nullification of the elections.  We're talking about redistricting in a way that is fair — and may not benefit Democrats, but it might open up some of these Republican seats.  It talks about stopping the big, dark, crushing special interest money and empowers the grassroots.

 

This is – and then, in addition to that, the Voting Rights Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights – John Lewis wrote the first 300 pages of the first bill.

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Mr. Manchin has weighed in.  The compromise that they voted on last week is perfectly good.  And – but we didn't get any Republican votes.  But –

 

Jake Tapper.  So, it's worth it to you to –

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, no, it's fundamental to our democracy.

 

Jake Tapper.  Right.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  It's just fundamental.  Now, mind you, just to remind, when what's-his-name was president and the –

 

Jake Tapper.  Donald Trump?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  The Republicans were in power.  Mitch McConnell pulled back the filibuster to enable with simple majorities three justices to go to the Supreme Court for life.  You would think that they could pull it back for the American people to have the vote in a way that –

 

Jake Tapper.  So, you're on board with that as the only thing.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  I'm not only on board; it's the most important vote.

 

Jake Tapper.  You're leading the way.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  It's about our Constitution.

 

Jake Tapper.  You're not just on board.

 

Quickly, I do want to ask about your own future in Congress.  Are you going to run for reelection?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Oh, you think I'm going to make an announcement right here and now?

 

Jake Tapper.  Yes.

 

[Laughter]

 

Jake Tapper.  Why not?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  I will have to be on many more times than that.

 

Jake Tapper.  You're going to run for reelection, though, yes?

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Why would I tell you that now?

 

Jake Tapper.  Well, it's not just me.  It’s the American people.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  I always –

 

Jake Tapper.  It's the world.  It's an international show.

 

[Laughter]

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, probably I would have that conversation with my family first, if you don't mind.

 

Jake Tapper.  Okay.

 

[Laughter]

 

Jake Tapper.  Thank you so much.  I really appreciate it.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you.

 

Jake Tapper.  And best of luck with the legislation.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you.

 

Jake Tapper.  And I know it's a heavy lift.

 

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you.  My pleasure to be here.  Thank you.

 

# # #