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Speaker Pelosi Remarks at Press Event with Select Committee on Economic Disparity & Fairness in Growth on Building Back Better For The Children  

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Members of the Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth and early childhood development advocates for a press event highlighting critical provisions in the Build Back Better Act that invest in children to reduce economic disparity.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:


Speaker Pelosi.  I didn't know whether that apple was a prop, lunch – or tomato actually.  Wasn't actually sure.  Thank you, Gwen Moore.  Thank you for your very kind words of welcome, which I accept on behalf of the House Democrats – who have been such champions For The Children.  Thank you for the history that you bring to all of this, as a state legislator, as a community activist who cares so much about the children.  Thank you for your leadership role in the Ways and Means Committee that has so much jurisdiction over the Build Back Better legislation.  And, thank you for your leadership role on the Committee to fight against economic inequality.  


The Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness, chaired by Jim Himes as we see.  And again, we thank the Committee for its leadership and focus.  And, we're also joined by another Member of the Committee, Angie Craig from Minnesota.  And I'm sure she's going to brag about Minnesota being first, one way or another, in all of this.  But we thank her for what she brings to the table in terms of economic opportunity, disparity and fairness in rural America, as well as across the board in our country.


When the Committee was established, it was to address what we saw as a growing disparity in our country.  We wanted them to – so many suggestions were coming forth from Members and the rest.  And, we wanted the Committee to take a very values based view of what some of these suggestions were and how we could put them into legislation to make the difference.  Their work – they have much more to do and have plans to do so.  I can say as one who sat first-hand to see their discussion with their witnesses that they are right on point, again, For The Children.


So again, some of the other Members may be joining us, but for now, let's just say I have always thought that unless we address this disparity issue – if we had been an older country, we would have, be a caste system by now.  It's that drastic.  Something had to be done.  And, that's why, last year, we created the Select Committee to guide our work to equitable recovery, which Builds Back Better than before.  At its latest hearing, made clear: by investing in our children, we build on inclusive discovery – recovery that helps everyone.


Again, in San Francisco, if I may go back to my situation, we have a saying: ‘children learning, parents earning.’  That is central to the Build Back Better legislation, which the Select Committee made so many important suggestions to: universal pre-K, child care, family and medical leave, women to be able to be in the workforce, opportunities for children to learn.  When that happens, and not just when women – moms and dads – being able to be safely in the workforce, being there so that their work is respected and their employers are not thinking their mind is someplace else.  Of course, our minds are always with our children.  But the fact is, knowing they're in a safe learning situation makes a difference for mom being there.  There's except – expression, ‘Age quod agis.’  Do what you are doing – enables women to make their mark.  Which is, we believe when women succeed, America succeeds.  This all all comes together.  And, it is a moral as well as an economic imperative to meet family's needs.


Informed by the Select Committee's work, our historic House-passed Build Back Better Act will, again, deliver a massive tax cut to nearly every family – was the life-changing Biden Child Tax Credit – and would dramatically lower cost of child care, capping at seven percent of income what family spends; secure two years of universal pre-K – that's music to everyone's ears – universal pre-K to set students up for success; and deliver more jobs, better wages and stronger benefits for child care workers.  Respecting the people who do this work, as well as home care health workers as well, which enable women – men and women caregivers to be fully in the workplace.


So, it's a, it's a remarkable piece of legislation.  I'm very proud of President [Biden] when we did the recovery – the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, the BIF.  It was good legislation.  But the President said, ‘While I want to work in a bipartisan way and find as much common ground in a bipartisan way that I can, I will not confine my vision for America to just that.  We need to Build Back Better.’  And that's what this legislation does, again, For The Children.


And as I said to them when I met them, and I just now – I said to Isabel Ballivian and Christina Lopez that they are our VIPs.  They can speak with such eloquence and authority on why this legislation is necessary and the good that it will do.  We're very, very honored by the presence of both of them today.  And it's now my privilege to yield to Isabel Ballivian and to hear from her own on what we're doing For The Children and thanking her for what she is doing For The Children.


After that we'll be hearing from Christina Lopez, who will bring her vision and values to this conversation as well, before we hear from our other Member of Congress who is here, Congresswoman Craig from Minnesota.


But right now, before, I yield to, I yield to Isabel Ballivian.




Thank you very much, Isabel – has such clarity.  The teachers are the custodians of our children for a large part of their day and their lives.  They must be respected, well-paid and well-trained.


With that, I'm pleased to yield to Christina Lopez, who will share her story.


Thank you.




I think Angie went to vote.




But, let me just say about the Build Back Better, because if there were two words that I was you say that describe it, it would be: lowers cost.  It lowers costs for health care.  It lowers costs for education.  It lowers costs for child care.  It lowers costs for family home health care for more senior members of the family who need health care or siblings who may have disabilities and the rest. 


It lowers cost, and that makes a very big difference.  It lowers the cost of prescription drugs, lowers the cost of food, all of the things that people struggle over their kitchen table or keep them awake at night.


So, I just want that idea – in addition to promoting our values, it lowers costs.  And now I see we've been joined by Angie Craig, as I said, who’ll give a perspective from rural America.  Congresswoman Angie Craig.




Speaker Pelosi.  Let the record show that that's the longest Congresswoman Craig has spoken before she mentions Noah. 




Congresswoman Craig.  My goal is to work it into every speech.




Speaker Pelosi.  But usually you start with Noah.  As she said, ‘the single most important child ever.’


Any questions for our guests on the subject?  Yes.


Q:  Yes, Madam Speaker, on the Child Tax Credit, I have two questions.  The first is, the CBO says, over ten years it would cost $1.6 trillion.  Senator Manchin has voiced concerns about that.  Do you support, maybe, trimming it or targeting it –


Speaker Pelosi.  No.


Q:  – so that it brings the price down a little bit?


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, it isn't in the legislation for ten years.  The cost of it is indicated by the – what is in the bill and that is the price, that is why we're saying this is paid for. 


You could take any bill that has ever passed and said, ‘Well, if this went on for ten years, if that went on for ten years, it would cost this, that and the other thing.’  This is not in for ten years, so no.


Q:  And then my second is on Child Tax Credit, as well.  Analysis from the University of Chicago has said that it [disincentivizes] work because it’s fully refundable.  Do you think it’s good policy to, policy to pump this cash into the economy that’s not tied to work while there’s inflation and a labor shortage?


Speaker Pelosi.  Yes, I do – completely disagree with the characterization you gave of that report.  I haven't seen it, so I don't want to debunk it, not seeing it, but your characterization of it. 


This is about families making ends meet, about women and men who have family responsibilities being able to go to work.  What we see with this legislation that has already been part of the other Rescue Package, but now will come to an end the end of this month unless we act, is that people are paying for essentials.  They're paying rent.  They're paying for food.  They're paying for school supplies.  They're paying for things that they need. 


They're not paying to sit on a beach someplace because they don't want to go to work, because they get this credit.  I think that comments like that are disrespectful, condescending to America's hard working families. 


Any questions that any of our colleagues would like to weigh in on?  Any of this?  Isabel?  Isabel.


Maria-Isabel Ballivian.  I have the privilege to introduce the release of the ARPA funds with the First Lady.  What I have been able to do with the funds that we have received so far, which were not little, is to give $0.60 increase to my staff members.  You tell me, how do I ask my staff members to continue to be there for our children if they don't have the opportunity to afford living in the area, to afford caring for their own families?  This needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed now.


Speaker Pelosi.  I’m going to have to excuse myself.  We’re going to have a Moment of Silence now on the Floor, for which I must preside, on the victims for the deadly tornados that have taken place.


So, forgive me for leaving.  But, others have availability.  Thank you so much.  I know, speaking first-hand, your eloquence can convey the intent, the values and the practicality of the legislation. 


Thank you, all.


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