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Speaker Pelosi Interview on CBS’s Face The Nation with Margaret Brennan


Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Margaret Brennan on CBS’s Face The Nation.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:


Margaret Brennan.  It was a sobering first full week of the new year, marked by soaring COVID infections, miserable weather in most of the country and painful memory invoked by the first anniversary of the January 6th insurrection.


But it is a new week, and we want to turn our focus to what is ahead in 2022 — particularly in an election year — and there is perhaps no better guest than the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.


Good morning to you, Madam Speaker. 


Speaker Pelosi.  Good morning.  Good morning to you, and happy new year. 


Margaret Brennan.  Happy new year. 


I don't think any of us wanted to start with this omicron surge that we are seeing happen, and I know in Congress you're seeing infections spike as well, N-95 masks now being given to staff.  How will this surge impact the work that you are able to do in the coming weeks? 


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, before I go into that, I just want to say, I come here on this Sunday morning fresh from the service celebrating the life of Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Two presidents of the United States spoke, the leadership of the Congress, the Vice President was there, governors, everyone — but nothing was as eloquent than the voices of his children, who spoke about their father.  So, being here, on the Senate side, I have to begin by praising and remembering Harry Reid. 


COVID is the center of it all.  It is about the health of the American people, of course, but it is also about its impact on our economy, the education of our children, the safety of everyone at work or in school.  So, the – I look forward to our taking advantage of advances in science on this, that there is a pill that will be able to intervene in early stages, and we want to have the resources available to do that. 


The issues before the Supreme Court will be very important.  Two bills – excuse me, two cases there: one about health care workers, one about the President's mandate going beyond health care workers.  There is a good deal, whether it is legislation for more resources, whether it is the Court's decision and the rest.  And, also, it is about our own taking personal responsibility to stay safe. 


Margaret Brennan.  When you say legislation for more resources — $6 trillion has already been spent, has been allocated over the course of this pandemic.  Are you saying that you need more coronavirus relief?  And will that go in the spending bill when government funding runs out next month? 


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, again, we have to protect the investments there.  Most importantly, we have to protect the health of the American people.


Now, the Administration has not made a formal request for more funding, but it is clear from the opportunity that is there and the, again, the challenge that is there from the resilience of this virus — and viruses — are, the more they spread, the more they mutate.  So, the good advice is for everyone to get vaccinated, to be masked, to have spatial distancing and the rest, and to be tested, tested, tested, continue to be important. 


Margaret Brennan.  When you have this government funding deadline, February 18th, I believe it is, you have this opportunity to bundle together, perhaps, some other things here.  Will you try to expand the Child Care Tax Credit at that time, since it has expired? 


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, that is a different bill.  That is in the Build Back Better legislation.  In the appropriations bill, which is to keep government open, we are in those negotiations now, and the Leadership in our House, Rosa DeLauro, our distinguished Chair of the Appropriations Committee, and we must find a solution. 


Now, I'm an appropriator.  That’s my culture in the Congress, first Appropriations, then Intelligence.  And I believe that, left to their own devices on both sides of the aisle, the appropriators can get the job done.  The – something like additional funding can be in there, can be fenced off for emergency, as would be COVID. 


Margaret Brennan.  Right. 


Speaker Pelosi.  The Child Tax Credit, we have to have that fight – that discussion in the Build Back Better legislation. 


Margaret Brennan.  So, you won't be pulling that out as any kind of stand-alone or any kind of attachment at this point? 


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I would hope so — but in order to pass the Build Back Better, it is under reconciliation.  We only need 51 votes.  The bill that is the reconciliation – the appropriations bill requires 60 votes in the Senate.  So, we have to do what is possible there. 


Margaret Brennan.  Right.  Well, Senator Manchin has made clear it is not possible at this point.  It sounds like you were trying to revive those talks.  Are you – where is that?  Have you spoken to the Senator? 


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I have spoken to the Senator over time.  I do think there is an agreement to be reached.  It is so important for our country.  Whether we're talking about, right now, the need for child care for moms and dads whose children may or may not be in school.  Child care is so important all the time, more important even now.  When we're talking about universal pre-k and child care, we're talking about the Child Tax Credit, we’re talking about home health care, all of those things.  Expanding the Affordable Care Act to include those who were not expanded under Medicaid in some of those states. 


But, in addition to that, we see weather, and that weather is telling us that we must do what is in the bill to address the climate crisis, which is causing so many unusual natural disasters.  Not all of them from climate, but exacerbated by it. 


Margaret Brennan.  Well, the White House is putting its shoulder behind this push for voting rights and election law versus Build Back Better, in the coming days at last.  I want to ask you, when you look around the country, there are many states that are changing their own election laws.  And, it could increase the chance for partisan interference when it comes to certifying an election outcome.  Have you thought about that scenario for these mid-term races?  Would you commit to seating an elected person if their election is not certified in the state they are elected out of?  I mean, regardless of the outcome, will you seat them? 


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, first, let's get the bill passed.  I think that the order of things is very appropriate.


There is nothing more important for us to do than protect our Constitution and our democracy.  What the Republicans are doing across the country is really a legislative continuation of what they did on January 6th, which is to undermine our democracy, to undermine the integrity of our elections, to undermine the voting power, which is the essence of a democracy.  So, we have to do that bill.  There is no more important bill that enables us to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. 


Margaret Brennan.  There are not the votes in the Senate for that at this point.  How will you handle –


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we just have to keep working on that. 


Margaret Brennan.   But, have you thought about that scenario?  Because, it is a potential scenario for these upcoming races where you have this dispute at the state level.  How will you handle that? 


Speaker Pelosi.  Well, it isn't a question of how we will handle something a year from now.  What is important right now is how we protect and defend the Constitution and the voting rights.  What they're doing — and you pointed out very clearly, and I thank you for that — is they are not only suppressing the vote, suppressing the vote, they are nullifying elections.  Saying it doesn't matter who gets more votes, it matters who the three people we appoint to analyze that, what they decide.  We cannot let that happen.


And, in this legislation — thank you for taking us down this path — in this legislation, there are stiff penalties for what they are doing to election officials, what they are doing, threatening elected officials.  This is a very major threat on our democracy.  This legislation is the most important, and we have to keep working in order to get the job done.  Because, it is vital as any legislation we could ever pass. 


Margaret Brennan.  And we're going to be talking about election integrity later in the program.  Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for your time this morning. 


Speaker Pelosi.  It is my pleasure to be with you.  Happy new year to you.


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