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tv   House Speaker Pelosi at Washington Post on Legislative Agenda  CSPAN  June 28, 2020 6:26am-6:59am EDT

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problems in equity. historians aren't supposed to guarantee about anything in the future but this is something i feel concerned about. >> watch tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. during the summer months, reach out to your elected officials with c-span's congressional directory. it contains all the contact information you need to stay in touch with members of congress, federal agencies and state governors. order your copy online today. house speaker nancy pelosi spoke about the legislative agenda with washington post national political reporter robert costa. she was also asked about her views on the removal of historical statues depicting the founding fathers, and whether the house might pursue articles of impeachment against attorney general william barr. this is half an hour.
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-- of the trump administration. speaker pelosi, welcome back to washington post live. >> thank you. >> i appreciate your time on this important and sad day, one month since george floyd, unarmed black man was killed by a white police officer in minneapolis. we will cover a lot of topics today. let's begin there. the house is voting today on your bill, the george floyd justice in policing act. how many republicans do you expect to join you? >> absolutely no idea. i am the last person to ask if
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republicans will vote for a democratic bill. i am proud of the consensus we have had in the house democratic caucus. this is a historic day for us. it began on the steps of the capital. the chair of the congressional black caucus along with jerry nadler and members of the house democratic caucus presented not only the legislation, but a perspective on why it was so important. we may get some republican votes. my understanding is the white house is against this bill which is unfortunate. we will pass the bill. >> speaker pelosi, the protests continue nationwide about racial injustice, calling for political change. will this piece of legislation satisfy the activists in the streets? >> this legislation addresses
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the concerns that they are expressing, and aren't we proud of them? so many people, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, day in and day out. brother came to testify before the judiciary committee, and i was meeting with him before, he said madame speaker, for george's daughter so his name would always be remembered, will you name the bill after george floyd? that to will recommend the judiciary committee and the black caucus. if you believe our legislation is worthy of george floyd's name. he said we do, and they did name the bill for george floyd.
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it is not the end. there are many other things you want to do and other bills we will bring up. in terms of justice and policing, this is a good measure. >> in terms of justice in policing, this is the appropriate measure. robert: speaker pelosi, you say it is not the end, but you also said republicans, the white house, are whipping against your bill. is it perhaps the end of significant change on this front in congress, at least until after the election? speaker pelosi: i certainly hope not. i do think it is time for the senate to sit down in a bipartisan way and come up with a real bill. what they presented took some of the language from our bill. that is nice, but completely defanged the action contained in the bill. it did nothing. so it was irreconcilable. you go to congress to reconcile a bill. when we saw what they had, that
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could not happen. now they could work in a bipartisan way to put something together that could be acceptable. i don't think they will accept no action. why don't you compromise? we don't want chokeholds, they want chokeholds. this is irreconcilable. some things are just not reconcilable. that's it. robert: beyond the confederate statues and paintings in the capital, which you have taken the lead on addressing in congress, should art depicting slaveowners, including our nation's founding fathers, come down in the country? speaker pelosi: you are talking about the patriarch of our country, george washington, the author of our declaration of independence, thomas jefferson, no. i don't think they should come
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down. i do think in the capitol, where we have members of the confederacy, the paintings should come down. i think in the capitol where we have statues of the president of the confederacy, along with what they said about people in our country, i think they should come out. but not if they at one time owned slaves. it is about, what did they do about it? in terms of military bases, these bases were named years after the civil war. they were statements of white supremacy. those names have to go. even if they are not named something else, their name has to go. i think the president once again is on the wrong track by not understanding that you don't glorify white supremacy in our
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country and have it be perpetuated once it is uncovered. robert: to follow up, what is your message to some activists who say the founding fathers, there needs to be a reckoning of some sort, whether it is tearing down their images or having a conversation? how should this nation handled the issue of slaveowners and our founding fathers moving ahead? speaker pelosi: i am very concerned about slavery in our country. i am also concerned about what happened to native americans in our country. we have a list of grievances, and we do not want that to be continued by glorifying any people who perpetrated injustices. i would say rather than tearing down and defacing, just have a
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review. have a review in terms of let's take it down safely so that we are not hurting anybody when the statue comes down or costing more money to get rid of it or get rid of the defacing of something that maybe should not have been. i am all for it. why are we glorifying the sins of the past? that doesn't mean thomas jefferson or george washington or others who were slaveowners, that we should undermine what they did for our country. these confederates, jefferson davis, alexander stephen, they committed treason against the united states in the name of slavery. i think that is a different story. but you know what?
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subject everything to scrutiny and make a decision. but i do think we should do it in a safer way rather than a more dangerous way. robert: speaker pelosi, let's turn to health care. republicans keep fighting president obama's health care law. now you are moving forward with your own bill to expand health care coverage. how has the pandemic affected that law and the broader health care debate? speaker pelosi: the pandemic, of course -- as you know, when we passed the affordable care act, it was named the affordable care act because affordability is about accessibility, and that was very important. we can do more.
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we can do more, and that is what we are doing in this legislation, to increase the number of people who have access to subsidies, to expand those who would be on medicaid, and so sad that some states would not even accept 100% coverage for medicaid so that people would have access to health care. so when you have a pandemic and you have people avoiding testing because they don't know if they can afford any treatment that might be necessitated because of that, they are not doing the country any favor at all to follow your ideology at the expense of the health of the american people. imagine right now today the white house is presenting to the supreme court to do away with the pre-existing condition benefit, to do away with access
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to quality, affordable health care for 120 million people, to do away with benefits for 125 million people. there may be 125 million families with pre-existing conditions. right now, the white house is in the supreme court saying to take down that benefit, and while we are at it, we will take down -- we will eliminate the cap so people will not be confined on the insurance they would receive. forget that. if you have a child born with a pre-existing condition or a family member, you want them to have the access, and you don't want them limited by any cap in the coverage because those caps go very fast. robert: speaker pelosi, the bill does not include a public
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option. would that still be of interest for you to pursue in january? speaker pelosi: we have a public option in the affordable care act. so the states cannot implement their own public option. i wanted the public option in the bigger bill we did not get it in the senate. but that does not mean -- i think the competition that springs from that and the opportunity that springs from that is something we should have. that is what the elections are about. there are 131 more days, seven hours, 15 minutes. soon. [laughter] we are putting together legislation, and this is one piece of it.
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putting together legislation that will be ready. we are not measuring for a curtain, but we are going to be ready when that beautiful opportunity comes. in order for that to happen, people have to know the difference that it will make in their lives. in 2018, our agenda was a simple one and a victorious one. 40 seats, 30 of them in trump held -- districts that trump had won. for the people, we are going to lower the cost of health care, by lowering the cost of prescription drugs and preserving pre-existing conditions. robert: in all the debate over the affordable -- speaker pelosi: secondly, we will build infrastructure in a green way. -- the oppression of some of our voting laws on the anniversary of the unfortunate supreme court decision, cutting the voting rights act. that was in hr-1. we did it again passing hr-4.
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the manifestation of that better government is the george floyd justice in policing act. we have aspects of our agenda appearing once again in the next several days. robert: let's stick with health care. all these issues. for a moment on the coronavirus, there is a spike nationwide, including in your home state of california. who is to blame? speaker pelosi: 1600 pennsylvania avenue. but what is the use of blaming? let's pass the heroes act.
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testing, testing, testing. testing, tracing, treating, isolation. there is a plan there to do that and have the resources to reach out. this is a justice issue. overwhelmingly, people of color have suffered in a disproportionate way by the coronavirus. why? because they have not had access to testing, tracing, treating, and isolation because they do not live in situations. the delay, the denial, the hoax, it is going to go away magically, we will be in church together by easter, that caused deaths. what we have to do is go forward and we have that in the heroes act that is sitting right there on mitch mcconnell's desk, along
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with honoring our heroes, state and local government, as well as putting more money in the pockets of the american people with unemployment insurance and the resources to do that. can i tell you something about the heroes act you should know? robert: i would love to have a status update, sure. speaker pelosi: here is the thing. you go to your computer, whatever. go to go there and look up any place you have ever lived, gone to school, where you have relatives, friends, and see how much money is going into those communities in order to cover their outlays for the coronavirus and their loss of revenue from the coronavirus. we see all that money all over
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the country, depending on the size of the township, county. look at that. it is remarkable. it is going to help all those entities balance their budgets by the end of june. robert: are you talking with the treasury secretary about that? speaker pelosi: i'm not finished. if one half of the cost of the republicans' tax scam they passed in 2017, adding $2 trillion to the national debt, no stimulus to the economy, and one half of that across the country, look it up and you will be dazzled by it and think, what happened? i just wanted you to know that.
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robert: i appreciate that, speaker. i don't mean to interrupt. we are all doing the best we can in this skype era. to follow up on this point you just made, are you in touch with the treasury secretary with another round of stimulus? you have been able to broker deals with him before. speaker pelosi: largely our communication is, shall we say, more general. for example, right now. but they are being communicated by mayors, governors, republicans and democrats across the country about the need to honor our heroes in the state and local government. they are hearing from scientists that we need to test, trace, treat, and isolate. they know from the chairman of the fed, and they even know by the secretary's own statement that if we do not act we will have a bigger economic problem in our country if we do not
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invest now in putting money in people's pockets. even the chairman of the fed said, state and local governments, they create jobs and provide services. i recommend that to the congress. so this is self-evident. they will come around. they know they have to do it. unfortunately, they are putting down people's questions as to when. we actually have a piece of it here on the floor on monday. we can do it that way, too. anyway, no, i have not had communication directly with the secretary on this, but they know that they have to do it. we have gotten a lot
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accomplished without having to endure certain conversations just by, shall we say, within the public domain. robert: speaker pelosi, you certainly watched all the testimony this week about the attorney general, about the justice department. after digesting what you have heard and talking to your members, do you now support at least the consideration of impeachment articles against attorney general william barr? speaker pelosi: 131 days from now, we will have the solution to many problems, one of them being barr. anyone who saw that testimony would know that barr is a mess. he is a disgrace to the department of justice. i have been talking about that for a while, and last year about this time we had a motion on the floor to hold him in contempt, criminal contempt. so he is contemptible, there is
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no question about that. but at this point, we will solve our problem by going to the polls and voting on election day, 131 days from now. robert: following up on this idea of accountability, ambassador john bolton has this book out. he talks a lot about attorney general barr, a lot about president trump. he has refused to testify before. would you like to call him this summer to hear from him on the record under oath? speaker pelosi: i consult with my chairman about how they want their committees to approach different problems. but he too is a disgrace. he chose money over patriotism. he decided to hold out to sell his book rather than provide what he knew about the problems of the president of the united states. how do you characterize them? they are so varied. the fact is for him, he always wanted to keep his connection there. he said, they should have called me. we would still be waiting for
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the courts to determine whether he should come. it was a good stalling tactic. why don't you wait until after the election to hear from me? so we proceeded. i am very proud. i could not be prouder of our managers, adam schiff, and the others. they did such a remarkable job. but he chose the cash register over democracy in terms of accountability and transparency in government. i think it is disgraceful. robert: i didn't mean to interrupt. let's finish on the campaign. how many seats do you expect house democrats to gain this year, if any?
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speaker pelosi: any. [laughter] i don't know how many. some of the most doomsayer people say under 10. all i want to do is hold our majority, grow it, but grow it in a way that also wins the senate for the democrats so that we are choosing our races in a strategic way that coordinates with the senate effort and certainly the electoral college. it is all about the electoral college. i am not taking anything for granted in terms of house democrats because you mentioned 30 of our seats that donald trump had won in and still retained some level of popularity. god bless the people for their interest in their government. but nonetheless, we want to be sure we have good, solid majorities for our front liners so they come back strong. so many women candidates. that will enhance our number, and we will be strong. but we want to do that strategically. so we don't only leave the house
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in a strong way, but we also help win the senate and the electoral college. and they will probably never tell you how many we are going to win. i will let you know that 131 days from now. robert: i will follow up about that. speaker, are you frustrated about representative ocasio-cortez and her endorsement of democratic challengers? speaker pelosi: no, not at all. she is a valued member of the congress. i think it was set -- we don't know what the results were for eliot engel. but she is a very valued member. eliot engel loves his
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constituents and his district, and he would want the person who represents them to be well received in congress, and we will do that with the challenger. robert: vice president biden is considering some house democrats, including representative demings of florida, representative bass, your colleague from california. i know you do not want to meddle in that process, but would you like to see vice president biden pick a house democrats? speaker pelosi: i think it is good he is considering congressional democrats, including members of the senate as well. kamala harris. i have great confidence in joe biden. he is going to be a great president.
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whoever he chooses is who i am excited about. i love them all. i think we have -- we are so rich with great talent. any one of them would be great. whether they are in congress or not in congress. i just have one thing. i want him to pick the person to make sure that he wins. and i know that anyone of them could serve our country well as vice president with joe biden as president of the united states and whatever beyond that. robert: speaker pelosi, will you go to the convention in milwaukee? speaker pelosi: either that or i will stay home in california. they just put out the format for what it will be. if they want it to be in milwaukee, i will be there. i know they will be having -- what i heard is they will be
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having the vote coming from important places in the state. i am thinking golden gate bridge. southern california is probably thinking somewhere else. whatever serves the purpose, i am always happy to be home. and we have the largest delegation, the california delegation. i would be proud to stand there with them with all of those delegates for joe biden for president of the united states, and the vice president of the united states. robert: we received many notes from our readers, including one from pennsylvania. she hit a theme that was quite noticeable in our inbox. here is her question. are you concerned that if vice president biden wins, president trump will challenge the results and refused to concede? speaker pelosi: no. i don't think so.
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but just to be prepared, i would say, just win big, because he will try to do questions of certifications. no, i don't think so. you know my opinion of the president. i don't have to go into that. but with that opinion of the president, i think he will respect the results of an election. even if he didn't, the henchmen around him would understand that he would have to respect the results of the election. you have to be prepared for everything. i take nothing for granted. just make every day count.
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no wasted time, no regrets the day after the election. let's play it out every single day, every 131 of them. it may take a couple days to count the votes, i don't know. but know that the day after the election, i believe that he would understand the office he holds requires him to step aside. having said that, be prepared for everything. hope for the best, prepare for the worst. robert: final question. i know your time is valuable and i appreciate it. let's say the democrats do win big and you hold onto your house majority, the democrats win the
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senate and the white house. what would be your first priority in early 2021 policy wise in that scenario? speaker pelosi: our first priority will be what it has always been. the first priority is america's households. health care. it is a health issue and also a financial health issue. that will be to remove all doubt that we will move into health care for all americans, affordable, accessible, quality health care for all americans. but as i said before, for the people, our agenda is lower health-care costs, bigger paychecks by creating higher paying jobs and people can participate in the prosperity of our country and in their government. the health care is a financial health issue as well, and that is why it has been such a focus for all of us. that is why it is hard to understand why the president of the united states has made it a priority to strip tens of millions of americans of their health care, making it more costly for others. it is just not shared values. but it is our value. as martin luther king said, of all forms of inequality, health care is the most influent and human because people could die. robert: speaker pelosi, thank you for your time this afternoon.
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speaker pelosi: my pleasure. thank you, bob. >> the house and senate are back in session. the house returns monday at 9:00 a.m. eastern and will spend the week working on the health care infrastructure, credit score reporting and housing needs that have arisen due to the coronavirus. follow the house live on c-span. the senate returns monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern to continue debate on the 2021 defense authorization bill which provides for defense programs and policies for the next fiscal
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year. senators will hold a vote at 5:30 eastern to formally begin debate. watch the senate live on c-span2. >> tonight on q&a. university of california at berkeley historian of medicine, author of vaccine nation, on the lessons the polio vaccine in the 50's can teach us about a covid-19 vaccine. >> we will face distribution problems. we will face problems of equity. even if we have enough vaccine for everybody, there will be those who have the privilege to say i'm not comfortable getting it until 5 million people have been vaccinated. and there will be those who say i have to get vaccinated because i have to go to work and i have to make sure that i am safe and i can provide for my family. so i guarantee that


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