tv Speaker Pelosi News Conference on For the People Act CSPAN September 27, 2019 9:29am-10:09am EDT
couple of minutes of cramer was very enjoyable for me. >> all right, we've reached our time. thank you, president, for your tomorrow today and thank you all for coming and i appreciate your willingness to be here and you're always welcome to could many back. >> thank you so much, david. [applaus [applause]. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> as this event comes to an end. we go live now as house speaker nancy pelosi is convening a news conference to talk about legislation expanding voting rights. >> as we observe the 200 days since we've sent hr-1 over to the senate. i want to commend congressman
john sarbanes for being such a tremendous leadership in integrity in government by working this issue for a long ti time. that then became hr-1 when the democrats had the majority in congress. he has been one who has seen and heard from the public how concerned they are about the role of big, dark money in politics and how that undermines their confidence that congress can ever act to lower prescription drug prices, to protect our environment, the list goes on and on because of that big dark money. and so his role as chair of the democratic reform task force and lead sponsor of hr-1 is to be commended for anyone who wants to improve not only our-- reducing the role of money in politics, but restoring the confidence of the american people and what we do here.
i also want to acknowledge the leadership of madam chair, the chair of the house administration committee. she is a champion, a brilliant legal mind that we call upon in many arena -- areas here and a champion of securing our elections. we're here with our freshmen. now, the freshmen class joined the campaign about one year ago, they sent a letter signed by 100 candidates, many of them, many of whom six or seven, who became members of congress stating that hr-1 was of the highest priority, cleaning up government. our agenda in the last election was for the people, quoting from the words, brilliant words of our founders at the start of our constitution, we the people. the constitution begins we the people, we are acting for the
people. and with us today our representative malinowski of new jersey, representative naguse of colorado, from new mexico and much more members of the freshmen class who have been leaders on these issues and i'm proud to be standing with those and you'll hear from them momentarily. we sent this legislation over to the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and it's been sitting there in his grim reaper role, but we're saying to americans, you may think this is dead over there, grim reaper, what a nice thing to say about yourself, but it is alive and well in the public, and the people know that -- and they will know more that you are holding this up. it's important to note that mitch mcconnell has said, the problem is not that there's too
much money in politics, the problem is that there isn't enough money in politics. was there ever a declaration of lack of values in terms of our democracy with stiff competiti competition, that stands as a prominent one. now very pleased to yield to the distinguished chair task force leader in restoring confidence in government and increasing the role of the people for the people in government, congressman john sarbanes. >> thank you, thank you madam speaker. yeah, here we are 200 days since we first introduced hr-1 for the people act. mitch mcconnell still will not bring it to the floor of the united states senate. this bill was crafted in response to what we were hearing from the american public and the freshmen members
of congress standing behind me who you'll hear from in a moment carried that message loud and clear to this chamber. our speaker heard that message and she leaned in on day one. we introduced this as soon as we put our hands down from taking the oath of office, hr-1 the for the people act was taken with the leadership of speaker pelosi, but with the championing that came from the freshman class and the message that was heard from the american public that we took to heart and that we put into the soul of hr-1 was number one, they were saying to us, you shouldn't have to run an obstacle course to get to the ballot box in america, so we need the strength and voting and registration and pushback on voter suppression across the country. the second thing that they sent to us, the message that was coming that we heard loud and clear was, when you go to washington, you should behave yourself, you should act ethically, abide by the rules,
conflict of interest rules and so forth, so we built a part of hr-1 that would address ethics and accountability. and the third message that was coming to members of congress from the american people was when you get to washington, don't get tangled up in the money. remember who sent you there, don't work for the pacs and super pacs and interests and lobbyists, work for the american people and that's a body to create transparency where the big money comes from, builds a new system for powerful campaigns and makes small donors the most important people out there and strengthens the enforcement tools we have here to capture those breaking the law in real-time. and that's all put into hr-1. in the house democrats heard those messages from the american people and we immediately translated it into a blueprint, a frame work for democracy reform which was hr-1. mitch mcconnell apparently is not listening the way we're
listening because for 200 days he's kept hr-1 on the senate side without bringing it to the floor. we're asking him, bring this landmark legislation that can fix our democracy to the senate floor so the people can have a vote. and it's my privilege now to introduce, really, the person who made sure we got this done in terms of regular order in the house of representatives and that's the chair of the house administration committee where all of this was pulled together and we were able to get it over the finish line in the house of representatives. >> thank you, john. you know, i, in addition to the elements outline is he well by mr. sarbanes, there was a provision in hr-1 to secure our voting systems. all 50 states were targeted in the attacks, the cyber attacks in 2016 and we know that the
attackers will be back. just yesterday the acting director of national intel against said this, quote, i think the greatest challenge we have is to major sure we maintain the integrity of our election system. we know right now there are foreign powers that are trying to get us to question the validity of whether or not our elections are valid. he went on to say, protecting the sanctity of our elections within the united states, whether it be national, state, local, is perhaps the most important job we have with the intelligence community. so for the past 200 days we have been pressing the senate to take up hr-1 for the reasons outlined by mr. sarbanes, but we have also provided a billion dollars for states to upgrade the security of their voting systems cs the country, by replacing outdated, vulnerable
voting machines with paper ballot voting systems. 175 million for ongoing funds for states to respond to evolving threats. 20 million for states to implement risk limiting audits. a regulation of election vendors to make sure they follow cyber security best practices. you know, it seems to me that securing our election system should not be a partisan issue. every american should know that when they cast their ballot it's going to be counted just as they cast t that's not a democrat issue, it's not a republican issue, it's not an independent issue, it's an american issue. it's time for mitch mcconnell and the senate to act on hr-1 and secure our democracy. i'd like to introduce now someone who has been such a standout in the freshman class. his expertise in the state department, his keen
intelligence, his integrity beyond question, that is mr. malinowski. please come forward. >> thank you, everybody. madam speaker, you mentioned that letter that we all sent, it seems like years ago when we were just starting our campaigns. i put my name on that letter because i spent much of my career fighting corruption around the world and one reason i ran for congress is because i want the united states to be able to hold its head up high and to be a leader on these issues. and i was elected, like so many of the freshmen, in a district that's evenly divided between republicans, democrats, independents, and my approach, our approach has been for congress to focus on issues, focus on passing legislation that can be unifying with the american people, and there is nothing more unifying, there's
nothing more bipartisan when it comes to the american people than opposition to corruption. i talked to folks back in my district. republicans, democrats, it does not matter, i do not meet a single person who is happy with the idea that people and corporations can spend an unlimited amount of money in secret to influence our election. i don't meet anybody who wants ethics rules to be weaker rather than stronger. i don't meet anybody who believes that partisan gerrymandering is a good idea and i certainly don't meet anybody who believes that we should open our political system to foreign interference. now, we know what's happening in the u.s. senate. we're realistic about mitch mcconnell, he has arguments about campaign finance reform. they're bad arguments, but at least they're arguments. he has absolutely no argument
holding up legislation to protect the security of our ballot boxes. he has made absolutely no argument. i can think of no more stark example of putting party over country than this. it is literally exposing america to further attack to promote the interest of one faction of one political party in this country. the american people are very clear about what they want. again, it may be partisan here, but it's completely bipartisan when it comes to the american people and that's why despite the difficulties we're facing i am 100% confident that the u.s. senate will pass hr-1,either this senate or a senate that will be elected by candidates who run-- with candidates to run on this issue. i am absolutely confident that hr-1 will be signed into law by the president of the united states, either by this president or by a president who is elected by running on this issue. thank you very much.
and now i'm very, very happy to introduce my good friend, congressman naguse of colorado. >> well, thank you, representative malinowski and he is certainly a tough act to follow. i want to say thank you to congressman sarbanes for leadership. and as congressman sar bynes said, they've heard it loud and clear. hr-1 became the centerpiece of the for the people agenda. and that this passes in the house over the course of the last nine months. i want to talk about one aspect of the bill that's critically important to me. what the bill does for the right to vote. it's foundational to our democracy, to our republic and over the better part of the last 10, 15 years you've seen
state after state work to curb the right to vote. voter i.d. laws and many other efforts. this law changes that. this law brings the power back to the people by adopting some of the most transformative, forward-thinking reforms for our election system in a generation. many of these reforms are reforms at that we've adopted in colorado. mail ballots, automatic voter registration because we know that the more people who are eligible to participate, the more that they do, the better our democracy is for it. there's one experience every week when i come back to washington that i try-- i make sure to do every fly-in day we call it when i come into the house and that's to greet mr. lewis to remind myself that me and my colleagues in the freshmen class have an honor to serve with someone who fought to protect that foundational right, so that someone like me could now serve in this incredible chamber. we owe it to mr. lewis and to
the many folks who caught in the civil rights struggle 50 years ago to honor their service by passing hr-1. and i will tell you somebody knew to washington, my knowledge of the legislative process was relatively straight forward. you introduce a bill, get sponsors, a markup, hearings and finally a vote on the floor and that's certainly been the case in the house thanks to the incredible leadership of our speaker. the same cannot be said of the united states senate. and i -- it's hard for me, i struggle to understand why the senate majority leader refuses to give hr-1 a hearing, much less a vote. i will say this, the speaker is right, the people understand it. the freshmen colleagues that i've spoken to over the course of the last recesses, we were back home holding more town halls than any freshman classes
ever held in the history of the conference, i might add. as we were speaking with constituents, i think they understand and certainly my sense that the senate has become a legislative graveyard and that the house is doing the people's work and that it is long past time for the senate to do the same. so i would implore my senator, senators from colorado, to take this issue, this bill up and to push it to regular order so that the american people have a chance to weigh in and i know that here in the house we're going to continue to keep building the pressure so that, as the speaker often implores us to do, to keep it too hot to handle, which i think is certainly going to be the case. one of those people working toward that end is my distinguished colleague from the great state of new mexico who made history in her own right, becoming one of the first two native american women to serve in the united states congress and that's my colleague deb hallen.
>> thank you, thank you so much, joe. and i'm honored to be here and thank you, mr. neguse, for raising the issue of civil rights. because as a native american woman from new mexico, 35th generation of new mexico, native americans didn't have the right to vote until 1948. when we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the women's right to vote we were reminded over and over again know the all women did not have the right to vote. women of color did not have the right to vote so it's these things that drive some of us to make sure that every single person can vote unincumbered. before i was elected to congress, i spent nearly two decades organizing to make sure all americans have access to our democracy. that is includes people who live in hard to reach areas, and people who have traditionally been excluded from politics, such as native
americans and other underrepresented groups. a little over 200 days ago, house democrats made history with hr-1. our once in a generation effort to clean up washington and return us to a government by and for the people. hr-1 does three simple things, first, it expand to the ballot box for all voters regardless of zip code, race, party or income. this includes making it easier for people to register to vote through measures like my same day voter registration act, which is part of hr-1. second, it ends the era of big money in politics, and third, it ushers in a new culture of ethics and accountability across all three branches of government. it's time to deliver on our promise to the american people to clean up corruption in washington and no one, not even senator mcconnell, can stand in
our way and i'm very proud now to turn this over to my colleague representative. >> of new hampshire. >> thank you to my colleagues and thank you as well to the speaker to chairwoman lofgren and congressman sarbanes in helping to bring forward an incredible idea that the freshman class has been so passionate about. i'd like to say that the freshmen in congress have proximity to the people and also to the values of this nation and we understand fundamentally that if we're going to make progress on climate change, on gun violence on delivering affordable health care to americans, popular ideas, if we're going to reflect the sentiments of the people, we need to shore up the democracy. that's why this was priority number one for the house of representatives. it's not too bad you get home and cite a bill number and get cheers from your constituents, but that's what hr-1 elliss
sits from the constituents in my district. they understand that this is foundational. we have to make sure that it's easier not harder to vote. that we end the corruption in d.c. and the influence that big money has in our system that skews it in one direction, to those that have fingerprints over way too many policy outcomes in washington. protecting that right to vote is essential and centerpiece of hr-1. included are provisions such as automatic voter registration, removing barriers to access to the ballot box, promoting integrity in our elections and make sure that we don't see the abuses like we've seen in ohio and georgia and other places in this country and we've seen communities targeted with voting suppression efforts. whether it's students or communities of color, the architects come out and admit
what they're doing. we're trying to rig these in our favor. this is an effort designed to allow politicians to pick their voters and not the other way around and that's why we've moved forward this legislation to help shore up our democracy. if we are going to be successful, it requires all of us in that effort. that's why the freshman class is eager to push this. we've gone 200 days without any action in the senate and we'll keep standing here as long as it takes, delivering that message on behalf of the american people to make sure that it breaks through so we can have a government that's of, for and by the american people. with that i'll turn it back over to congressman sarbanes who will facilitate some q & a. >> thanks, chris. so, we'll definitely take any questions, if you have them, just to wrap again, i think what people need to understand is that the american public is starting to perceive that the problem is not washington as a whole, or congress as a whole,
it's the fact that mitch mcconnell will not take good legislation that we are bringing forward, pretty much every week in the house of representatives and bringing it to the floor of the united states senate. and the public is perceiving that's where the bottle neck is. so we're just urging mitch mcconnell bring these important things, beginning with hr-1 to the floor of the united states senate so the voice of american people can be heard. is there any questions for any of the members up here? yes? >> given the fact that this is such a broad and expansive bill, is there anything that you guys would support if mcconnell were to take up one on two provisions? has that ever been a discussion at this point and is that something you guys would support? >> welling, you're right that the bill is broad in its scope and includes very many-- or a lot of different pieces that are interlocking and all things that the public said they want to see and that's why we put them together and chairman lofgren was the
architect of making that happen. we have recognized that there are things in hr-1 that can be pulled out and sent separately and we already ghana process and she may want to speak to this because it's her committee. but they took out a lot of the pellet box security measures. a way to say at that mcconnell, we understand maybe we can't get you to move on the whole package, even though that's what the public wants to see, but at the very least, can you take up these security measures with respect to our elections and put those on the senate floor? ap he hasn't done that either. so, do you want to speak to na that? we did pass the safe act and it basically models what the science community has said we should do to secure just the ballot box. that's important to act on urgently because the election is next year and localities,
need to have a little bit of lead time to transition to paper ballots, to secure the equipment. having said that, the entire hr-1 is important. we want to keep the influence of dark foreign influence out of our elections, dark money out of our elections, but you can accelerate the actual securing of the systems themselves. that's urgently needed. >> can we talk to you a little bit. -- security issue, and inquiry has been launched, how do you frame this to your constituents, explaining the process, the more skeptical on board and especially the freshmen in the
battle groundsments the overarching message is that house democrats are both able to bring the kinds of investigations that need to happen and that's a topic this week and at the staple time we will-- same time we'll do that aggressively. and all the bills on the house side, lowering prescription drugs, equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, addressing gun safety in this country, et cetera, we have sent a very impressive set of legislative proposals to the united states senate so we're able to do that even as we're fulfilling our constitutional responsibility to do investigation and oversight. and i'll turn it over to anybody who wants to add to that. >> i'll just say i think we're all going to continue doing what we've been doing. you know, as was mentioned, town halls have been front and center for most of us as we get
connected and build relationships with folks in our district. and so, i think we do have a responsibility to continue to do the work that we're doing on our own committees, whether it's infrastructure, veterans issues, a number of other things, but also to have an honest conversation with our voters back home about the severity of what we've seen this past week, and the responsibility that we have as a congress to stand up and meet the demands of the oath of office that we all took. so i don't think that any of us believe that we're a part of this discussion around an impeachment inquiry we're doing it for political purposes. we have a role to make sure to connect back the voters of our district with the oversight responsibilities that we have that will continue and i do understand that should members be required to be here for any part of that proceeding, they'll certainly be called back. >> i think the issues are connected in this way, that
voters expect us to meet our constitutional responsibility. i ran on improving people's lives, but i also ran on the content of the oath that we all took. and so, they expect me, if the president of the united states violates the law, to hold him accountable about you at the same time our first and most fundamental duty is to be legislators and as we learn from investigations about conduct by the president or by others in our government, that violates core american values we also have a duty to pass legislation to ensure that these things never happen again. one of our vulnerabilities to foreign interference is our campaign finance system. we've learned that in the last few years. one of our vulnerabilities is that we have not invested enough in the physical security
of our electoral system and so, i think it's actually very good and a very important message for us to deliver that even as we consider the very grave matter of whether and how to hold the president accountable for the actions that have been detailed in the last few weeks, we also have to do our duty as legislators to make sure that no president, no executive branch whether republican or democratic can do these things in the future. hr-1 provides a very important factor. >> and your background, how do you use that based on what you've seen with the report whistleblower and understanding that. does that help you explain this better to constituents? and what do you say to them? >> absolutely, my constituents know my experience and often come to me with questions that are based on my experience and i can tell them and you based on my experience that what we-- what we saw in the president's
dealings with ukraine on this matter is absolutely unprecedented in our country's history and places our national security at risk. >> questions? >> given the fact that you do have such a strong legislative agenda here that you're trying to work out and time is of the essence, how quickly do you need to be moving forward with the impeachment inquiry? what would you be your expectation for timeline? >> well, i don't think there's any fixed timeline that it makes sense to put forward at this point. i think what you are seeing already on the part of the democrats is that we're going to treat this in a very sober and serious way and we're going to take things step by step deliberately, do it in a timely way, be aggressive about it in terms of fulfilling our responsibility, but i don't think that any arbitrary deadline is warranted here with respect to the investigated side of things.
but em if size that we've all been saying, even as that process is rolling out, we can continue to be very aggressive in terms of legislative agenda. we already have done that and we're going to continue to do that because the average person out there, yes, i think they're going to pay more and more attention to the contact of the president, certainly based on the events of this week, but they're also trying to deal with what's coming at them every single day and that's where, you know, pocketbook issues, the cost of health care, feeling secure in your community and don't have to worry about violence and so forth, those are the issues that everyday americans are kind of assimilating every single day and we have to speak to them and we are speaking to them and again, this is another area, it's not just hr-1 that mitch mcconnell has shut down on the senate side it's all of these other issues as well and i think the average person out
there is picking up on that and he's going to have to explain that when we get to the ballot box next year for his party for sure. ... i mentioned town halls. 63 democratic freshmen in this class have held more town halls and any other freshman class in modern history of the congress. congressman pappas has held 14 town halls in this district in new hampshire which i suspect is more town halls that several of his predecessors combined. introduced 19 bills, stand-alone
bills that she is the lead author of, the second most bills of any freshman and the united states. we have had seven freshmen have laws signed by the president, excuse me, legislation that is been signed into law by president trump over the course of the last nine months, about double that number of folks with bills passed the house that any in the united states senate. the vast majority are bipartisan bills. this class is a hard-working class and i think the legislative agenda to the extent that it's been as robust as i described i think that will continue over the course of the coming months, notwithstanding the important constitutional responsibilities that went under article one to perform our oversight. >> take a couple more questions. >> and a couple months will be in an election year. democrats will be figuring out the election platform, the agenda for the upcoming congress
pick you all had to figure out what you will be running on. this was obvious h.r. one. do you see this is something that stays on the agenda as you seek reelection in 2020 and you are looking to tell people what democrats might do as potentially as government or other things and other urgent issue? >> for sure this'll be part of the agenda. in 2018 these candidates ran on for the people agenda, which was to raise wages, lower prescription drug prices and health-care costs, and to fight corruption and clean up government. that message was incredibly resident with the public. will hit home as they can attest to. we're going to go out with the same basic message again that we are focused on the economic impact that people deal with every single day, particularly the cost of healthcare. and we've moved this week as you
know to address that in a meaningful way. and yes, i do corruption making sure people feel like the voice is heard here in washington. that's absolutely going to remain at the center of the agenda. [inaudible] >> that's true. if he wants to pass h.r. one so we can say check, we got that done and we can focus on issues, we would love to see that but we're not holding our breath. >> the events of this week have passed very quickly, and i wonder if you like you have any guidance from the leadership about what your message should be to constituents when you go back home? >> absolutely we have guidance from our leadership, both by sort of conversations that are going on every single day but also by the example being set by our speaker and others within
the leadership. and that is that as members of congress and house of representatives, article one legislative branch we have constitutional responsibility to conduct investigation and oversight where that's demanded. clearly it is in this instance with respect to this latest episode. it's taken things to new level in terms of that responsibility, and we're stepping into it. that's been a very, very, very clear message from the leadership. at the same time we know that people out there want to know what will democrats do ultimately if they are the ones that are given the authority across our government. we've shown what we will do in the house of representatives by passing a very and meaningful legislative agenda. it is stuck in the senate because mitch mcconnell is the grim reaper, apparently thrives on that image. but don't think that's going to stand in good stead in the long run because of public wants to
see action on things that matter to them. so we're going to keep moving forward and the leadership has been very clear in saying we need to do both. investigate but legislate. >> congressman neguse, you want to address that? sorry, but you get. >> just on the general point you make with respect to the message? >> yes. and whether there's a single message on impeachment and how much sort of guidance in this very chaotic week, lawmakers a been able to get from the leadership. >> know, i think congressman subantarctic in at the message quite welcome and i think he said the speaker and, of course, our caucus chairman and others have said the great example in terms of the way in which that characterized the path forward. it's a solemn moment for our country. it's a solid mode for our republic and a solid moment for the house. we have job job to do and so we're going to proceed as the speaker is outlined.
i do think comments for this week about benjamin franklin, for those who herder at the atlantic festival, were spot on, this notion that back in the final days of constitutional convention when benjamin franklin was asked by someone who walked by the convention, what kind of government the delegates had created, that his response, a republic, if you can keep it. and it's our job in the congress of the article one branch to keep it. and with leaders like congressman sorbate and chairwoman lofgren who done and a credible job and, of course, our leadership in this incredible freshman class whom was pointed out astutely so as a wealth of experience in terms of their careers come into the congress i think we will be in good shape so thank you all.
[inaudible conversations] >> as this event comes to a close, a quick programming note that we'll continue our live coverage shortly with comments from hillary clinton who is appearing at an awards program honoring women were to advance global peace and security. we were expecting that you start life at 11 a.m. eastern from georgetown university in washington, d.c. we will have it for here on c-span2. >> today former national security adviser susan rice joined other lawmakers, journalist and political strategists for a big conversation at the "texas tribune" festival in austin. live coverage at 3:30 p.m. eastern on c-span.
>> kentucky republican james comey joins us. he's a member of the house oversight committee. after speaker pelosi announced her impeachment in court earlier this week you called it a political stunt. has anything that's come out over the past 48 hours changed your mind about that assessment? >> not really. i think speaker pelosi overreacted, made an impeachment inquiry as unprecedented to call r