C-SPAN Interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi CSPAN September 13, 2019 9:17am-9:46am EDT
>> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington d.c. and around the country so you can make up your own mind created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable and satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. government. >> now a conversation with house speaker nancy pelosi, she sat down with c-span to discuss a wide range of policy topics in campaign 2020. it's just shy of a half an hour. hour. >> madam speaker, let's begin with the gun debate. the house passed a bill and you're critical of senator
mcconnell. do you have anything what the republicans would support. >> you'd have to ask them. 90% of the american people support common sense background legislation. and that's 200 days ago, earliest days of the democratic majority and we passed the legislation that's been sitting over there for just about 200 days. 100 people a day die from gun violence, 40% of them children or teenagers. every single day for 200 days, some -- many of those deaths could have been prevented with background checks. >> from your standpoint, are background checks a starting point or an end point when it comes to gun legislation? >> background checks are a critical point because they save the most lives. people talk about other initiatives which are important, but what saves most lives are the background checks and what this legislation does
is just expands on the background check laws that are there now. when the law was passed and i was here and -- on the floor as a new, relatively new member of congress, we didn't have on-line sales. so now this is about on-line sales, gun shows, and person to person sales. those are ways that people circumvent background check laws that are there. there's only an expansion of how much time is given for the background checks. it's very simple and 90% of the american people, democrats, republicans, gun owners n.r.a. members, independents support this legislation. senator mcconnell under a republican senate so far. >> as you know, the debate seems to center on the second amendment versus civil rights. so how do you balance the two. >> well, this is not in any
violation of the second amendment. the second amendment talks about a role of congress in terms of right to bear arms. this has nothing to do with it. this just said as a protection, that you didn't have a gun unless you could pass a background check. >> and most of everybody i know sports the second amendment so this isn't in violation of that. >> and you've said if this does not pass, lawmakers will, in your words, have hell to pay. >> well, i was quoting the groups. and i myself said it would make it too hot to handle in the public opinion. president lincoln said with public sentiment is everything, with it you can accomplish almost anything. without it, practically nothing. so, in keeping with the fact that 90% of the american people support this, why would not
congress act upon the wishes of the people. i've always said, make it too hot to handle making sure we know the public knows what is at stake and what the possibilities are. but when i say that outside, the group said, no, they'll have hell to pay. so they turned up the heat on me. so i was quoting them. >> have you talked to senator mcconnell about this? >> no, not for a long time. maybe days gone by, but not lately. i'm curious, what's your relationship like with him. >> we've been-- both of them have been appropriated and in the '90s i was in the foreign operations committee, it was called that then, foreign assistance and that so we interacted in that capacity so i've known and worked with him over the years. right now it's not about senator mcconnell. senator mcconnell has been
clear, he's not doing anything the president doesn't want and that's where we are. now, i don't know why a leader in the senate would abdicate his responsibilities, weaken the institution in which he leads because a president doesn't want it. so it's really unfortunate because, again, in that viewpoint of what is important to this legislation, it saves the most lives. some issues are higher profile and they save the most lives. >> you're a leader. he's a leader. how would you assess his leadership style? >> i'm not here to talk about that. the public assess his style, but what i do know right now, as a mother and a grandmother, i'm not happily assessing anybody's style, who thinks his political survival is more important than the survival of america's children. >> your predecessor john
boehner said when speaker, you have a turn in the barrel. how do you control your conference? >> i don't. our caucus is unified by our values. people say to me, oh, you-- >> no, i don't, our values unify us and our driving force to be here for america's working families and that is it. that is our decision. so, we have very diverse caucus and that's the beauty of it all. the beauty is in the mix. i say to the members that our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power. >> you came in 1987. you're now the speaker. has it changed? >> oh, yeah, of course it's changed because everything changes and sometimes the more it changes, the more it is the same. it is the institution established by our founders, article one, to be the representation-- the representatives of the
people. what has changed drastically in the last decade or so is communication, social media, and the rest and the information in real-time, even faster than that, that has made it-- made a difference so people are aware and it's an opportunity and it's also a challenge. those who exploit the system in ways that are not always truthful. >> one thing that hasn't changed, rooms like this. where are we? >> right now we're in the speaker's ceremonial office, this is the room where when the president of the united states or any of the visiting dignitaries are here to address a joint session of congress, that we meet them here and then the escort committee meets them here and then takes them into the chamber to be welcomed and it's a special room and it's-- that's why we're happy to have you here today as our visiting dignitary. >> you've hosted president
trump on a number of occasions. sometimes he's called you, quote, nervous nancy. what do you think of that? >> not much, i don't care what he says. i don't know-- mostly calls me nancy. some people say he should call me madam speaker. i don't care what he says. that's so irrelevant. what's important is what our policy differences and we have very big policy differences. we have policy differences over science, making decisions about health and the environment and the climate crisis. we have differences in terms of how we respect the constitution of the united states, how we view god's blessings of america, one of our blessings is our constitution, the vision of our founders. i think the president dishonors the constitution by his attitude. i think he dishonors who we are as a nation by denigrating the
nation of immigrants that we are, unless you're blessed to be a native america, which is a blessing to you and to all of us. by and large we're a nation of immigrants and the president tries to diminish that. i think he degrades the environment from sea to shining sea, this beautiful land that god has given up. sea to shining sea and beyond. clean air, clean water, a beautiful country. the science to make any decisions about the environment, any of that. and i think he dishonors our values in terms of, say, for example, our budget, the statement of our national values. what is important to us should be reflected in how we allocate our resources and that doesn't mean getting a tax break, 1%, the wealthiest 1% in our
country getting 83% of the benefits of a tax. i think america, america, our constitution, our land, our values, disagreements with the president and that's more important than any cute things he might say about names or something like that. i do respect the office that the president holds. i will make any attempt to find common ground on issues where i think that is possible, whether it's knowing the cost of drugs or having a trade agreement with mexico and canada or whether that's building infrastructure of america in a clean way, that increases that we're ever hopeful that we can find common ground. i have major disagreements. quite frankly, the republican
in congress who have followed his lead and really have been there longer than he, in many cases, in their attitudes toward gun safety, the lack of agreements that we can find, despite the public. the republicans in the supporting gun safety, not here. immigration, environmental protection, clean air, clean water. issues that relate to fairness in our economy. we had those disagreements between the parties. they have responsibility to find common ground where we can and ground where we can't. as far as the president is concerned, regardless how he acts, what he says, what is most important is the policies he's putting forth and where we can find agreement we will and where we can't, we won't. >> to that point there's a picture of you with your father and john kennedy in the white house in the early 1960's.
you've worked with six presidents dating back to 1980 with ronald reagan. what is it like working with this president on these issues? >> the other presidents, as a member of congress, yes, six presidents. not so much with ronald reagan because that was sort of the end of his term when i came in the senate, but with the president george herbert walker bush and with president bush, george w. bush, two republican presidents they believed in governance, and you would work with them because they believed there was a public role in the americthe lives of the american people. this president doesn't believe in science and doesn't believe in governance. it's very hard to get things done if you don't believe in the way to get things done and the reason to do something. this is quite different, but again, i have always respected
the office of the president and presidency as i would hope they respect article one, the congress of the united states and it was much different to work with the other presidents than with this president. >> let's focus on some other issues. >> i say much easier to work with them than this president, let me correct that. >> the usmca deal, where does that stand? >> i'm hopeful that we'll be able to come to some agreement obje on that. we've made progress on some of the particulars of the bill, but the essential point is enforceability. it's-- i voted for nafta the first time around. i've had my disappointments in it, but there are many people who voted against it, whether they're in congress now or not is not the point, but outside many people opposed then nafta and then wanted to see a
change. i believe that we'll make important changes in provisions of the bill that it doesn't matter unless you have enforce act and that's what we're working on now. but the representative is-- has been respectful of all views as we have been respectful of his. >> as you know, next year mark the centennial, women's right to vote in 1920. what about era, is that something you'll address? >> let's talk about the 100th anniversary. it's something to be a woman in the congress of the united states when it's 100 years since a woman had the right to vote. this is pretty exciting and for the first time we have 100 women, over 100 women serving
in the congress. 106 women in congress. i'm proud to say that 91 of them are democrats. we made the decision to increase those numbers every single election. and it makes it difference for people to see in congress some of the people who have shared their experience. so it's-- we want more, of course, but this is going to be -- this is really cause for celebration. we recognize that we stand on the shoulders of women who fought so hard to make this possible for women and for our country and that others stand on our shoulders and those who want to pass equal rights amendment which would be very important to do. but the same-- those who are fighting for that, and i include myself as one of them in the congress, congresswoman carolyn maloney and jackie spare are in the lead on that and at the same
time in the house, in the nate. equal pay for equal work, and then violence against women act. very important for women. raising the minimum wage. over 30 million getting a raise and over 20 million are women. the list goes on and on just in this congress now that we are passing because many of the women who are advocating for e.r.a. and are also -- for many issues. in fact, our entire society, not just women, but we believe in america that when women succeed, america succeeds and that includes being a woman with a pre-existing medical condition. it applies to many of the initiatives that we have. >> are you planning anything special next year for the anniversary? >> we had been, especially observing it leading up to it
whether it's at the library of congress, whether it's at the smithsonian institution, whether it's at the archives, which is part of the smithsonian and having its own discrete observances already in the year leading up to it. but, yes, no, it's cause for celebration and there will be many observances for those who fought so hard. imagine in that time to leave home, to alienate family members. it wasn't always well-received within these families and we want to emphasize also the role that minority women play, african-american play in the -- women getting the right to vote. that was a very important role. i was proud that we unveiled that when i was speaker. and then the bust in the capitol of the united states.
well, we did -- but going back to the suffragist, abolitionist, a woman, a mom, and an advocate for women having the right to vote. >> and we covered that ceremony. two quick questions, 15 house republicans retiring next year, what's that about? >> i think it's an indication that the republicans know that they'll probably be serving in the minority in the next congress. and most likely with a democrat in the white house. so i think that it's time for them to spend more time with their families. >> will you run for reelection. >> well, i'm not making any political plans right now, but we'll just take it one day at a time. i intend to file. we have to file by december of this year, we have to file. so, i'll be filing. >> so what's your message to voters? why vote for a democrat in
2020? >> it's a very exciting-- it's going to be a very exciting year and the democratic party is the party of the future. but it's a party that's challenged the conscience of america and the source of more new ideas, more creative thinking about how we're going to the future. it's a party of inclusion, its diversion looks sometimes democratic and if you care about the future, care about the planet, a moral responsibility for future generations. if you care about fairness in our economy which we must seriously address and you should vote democratic, if you care about the fact the worth of every person that a child -- you should vote democratic. it's having that i'm very, very proud of, and it's god's creation, really, the people,
god's children, the land, god's gift to us. our future, which we all have a responsibility to. i do believe that the democratic party is the party that does honor the sacrifices and the vision of our founders in a very important way. a party that respects the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform by keeping that freedom strong in our own country, in the party that cherishes our responsibility to the aspirations of our children for the future. so, i'm excited about all of our candidates for president. i am so proud of them and i think that we'll see who emerges, who connects with the vision for the future, the knowledge and respect for the hopes and dreams of people of individual families and the party that at the heart of it all, we're unified by our values to work for america's working families for fairness
and opportunity, for liberty and justice for all. >> and one media question because in thursday's briefing you had nine or ten questions on impeachment. i'm not going to ask you about impeachment. but do you get frustrated when you get asked about that? >> no, i'm perfectly comfortable with it. everybody is free to have their point of view on it and their own timing on it. >> i do know, because as speaker of the house, i have a responsibility to the constitution of the united states and my colleagues, to take an oath to protect the constitution. and he will follow the facts and when the timing is right we'll make our decision how we go forward with the facts and the law. but one thing i've said all along, no one is above the law and this president will be held accountable. >> in march, you went to the house floor and praised c-span as we turned 40 years old and you had stories to tell. >> and -- i was very amused by
when young people come to the floor, when children come to the floor, they love being on tv and each time i've been sworn in i'm surrounded by children. i have my own children, my own grandchildren and now another crop of grandchildren this time. so, when they come up to be with me when i'm sworn in all the other children follow up. so one of the stories that i think is so funny, the children love to be on tv and that's one of the reasons they come up there. so this year when i -- speaker, i'm going to swear in other members, have the swearing in of other members and i said to the children you can go down now and with your parents as they're sworn in. we're okay here. we're okay here. in full view of c-span and television. i think it's so comfortable, the confidence and the comfort
level that the kids have about being on tv and c-span making all of that possible, is just a good thing. >> when you get away from the speaker sh speakership. do you have time to read. >> i love books. i love books. i have a lot books on my -- electronically, but i do love books, to turn the pages myself, and one book that i've been talking about lately, i read it a long time ago, but a year or so ago, but i was rereading it because as a member of congress they had a session with rubenstein, or isaacs who wrote about leonardo did vin da vinci. and i told him this story. leonardo considered himself an engineer, in fact, he wrote a
letter to the leader of milan asking for a job and described his engineering skills and he could do all of these things that would be useful actually in terms of any conflict, et cetera. and at the end he said, i also paint. i also paint. but that's not the story. so, but in the story, because it was engineering interest, he talks to leonardo will impetus. impetus and how that affects how you intent and all the rest and talks about impetus. and when i had my turn to have a question i said i'm going to talk-- call to your attention something i called to the attention of my colleague, leonardo talks about impetus. and then you might get friction, which is a waste of energy. so he deal with impetus.
>> and they said why would you be telling that to your members, impetus. friction, we deal with it, but we don't waste energy. the resources including the impetus we may have to make the future better. >> speaker nancy pelosi, we thank you for your time. >> my pleasure, thank you for yours. >> just a quick reminder our interview with the speaker airs again tonight 8:00 on c-span and c-span.org. more live coming up here at 10:00 eastern. a discussion on the u.s. taliban peace process, take you live to the institute of peace when it gets underway here on c-span2. c-span2. >> saturday on book tv at 11 p.m. eastern, supreme court associate justice neil gorsuch discusses his book "a republic if you can keep it", and then on sunday at 9:00 eastern on
after word, in his latest book "sentin "sentin "sentinel, incorporated", he talks about how they manufacture a drug. and the co-chair of the opioid task force. >> if you're a scientist at a university, you publish your paper and put it in some university library, hard to find. in the internet age all of these papers were published on-line. >> and publicly available. >> exactly. >> anywhere around the world. >> exactly, so these rogue chemists began looking for the files specifically for these paper to go through them and appropriate the chemical formulas, to learn how to make these new drugs. >> at 10:00 eastern, oregon democratic senator jeff merkley provides his firsthand account for migrant families at u.s.
southern border. in his book, america is better than this. >> advocates said that hundreds of boys had been separated were warehoused in a walmart. so i went to find out about it. and they decided they didn't want me to see what was going on and they instead called the police and the video went viral and suddenly all of america was hearing about cages and secret warehousing of migrant children. >> watch book tv every weekend on c-span2. >> saturday at 6 p.m. eastern, on the civil war. the 1863 campaign in tennessee. >> the night of the 6th, bragg orders everybody to concentrate on telehomma. the rest of the campaign to be honest with you, after they leave the highland rim is somewhat climatic because with rose cransit.
bragg is ready to fight it out in tullahoma. >> and debra with a lawsuit against holocaust denier david irving. >> and with deniers, no leadership from hitler. no gas chambers and the last point this was all made up by jews. >> and sunday, at 5 p.m. eastern, a suggestion with shakespeare's influence on politics. and american artifacts the norman rockwell museum travelling exhibit on fdr's and the four freedoms. explore our nation's past every weekend on c-span 3. >> and now democratic presidential candidate senator elizabeth warren from last weekend's new hampshire democratic party state convention in manchester. this is just over 15 minut