House Minority Leader Pelosi News Conference CSPAN December 21, 2017 11:56am-12:22pm EST
>> house rules committee wrapping up their work as they put together rule for debating a short-term funding package and natural disaster aid and relief. celt to expire this coming friday night. the package will keep the government funded until january 19 of next year. the rule calls for an hour of debate on both the temporary government funding bill and the disaster aid proposal. the house in the meantime has been in a holding pattern, they're in recess waiting for results of the rules committee. we expect the house to gavel back in shortly to start rules debate and then they are expected to have votes and hold general debate with more votes to follow. it's likely to be a long day in the house. of course we'll continue with
our committed live coverage of the house here on c-span. while we wait for the house to gavel back in, minority leader nancy pelosi today held an end of year news conference with reporters to talk about the democrats' agenda and accomplishments during the year. ms. pelosi: good morning. 2 1/2 hours up in the rules committee pleading with them to give us a vote on the dream act,
the c.r. that will come up today. matter of public record, i don't know we had too much success in that regard and of course they will be proposing the rule. it is an interesting week as we prepare to go home soon and i don't know when that is. just in terms of yesterday, republicans took a victory lap because they successfully sold america's children's future handing tax breaks to corporate america and the wealthiest. it's an amazing thing because they had been been talking about it being a bill that is a tax cut to middle-class families with 83% of the benefits. it goes to the top 1%. that is an immorality. 86 million middle-class families face a tax hike.
health care premiums spike for 13 million americans possibly uninsured, leaving to a smaller pool. they are saying they had closed loopholes. these are are selling points. his bill is a loophole lalapalooza. they didn't close loopholes and now introducing another bill, sell red horses or whatever they have. i don't know how could it be that the president was on the campaign trail that he was going to close this loophole and congress said, not so fast, mr. president. it's there a continuation. that's a false argument. they said this is going to be simplicity and have seven
brackets. the simplicity isn't there. they said you could file on a post card. well, it would have to be a very large post card. i don't know why they think that's a selling point. it isn't a fact. and said it will create jobs. their friends at goldman sachs and others said it will have minimal growth. they said -- the president said he was going to level the . aying field overseas he ships jobs overseas by giving a break to corporations. you know the particulars of the bill. it takes us into debt and does not produce growth and not a simplification. and not for the middle class. so this is a welcomed debate that we have. they said this is going to be a big campaign issue for them.
we welcome that. we welcome that. but this is -- they are going to provoke people saying, this is about our future. this isn't about democrats or republicans but about america, about our future. this is a moment where people -- have the resolve to say, don't throw me a crumb and tell me i'm benefiting when you are robbing the future by increasing the debt and you ransack the middle class. so we have that. but in any event, this is an interesting year. taking great credit for this accomplishment. it's a frankenstein and it was a creation, a monster that was created and you know the ending of the story? the monster comes back to
destroy. so how about this year? the president said he would help the forgotten americans. he rigid the system even further for special interests and against hard-working people. republicans dismantled the watchdogs on wall street and forcing consumers into arbitration agreements. the consumer fin hall protection bureau to undermine that, to undermine dodd-frank. initiatives that were established to prevent what happened in 2008 from ever happening again. they want to get rid of that. make -- they say they are getting rid of regulations but getting rid of protections and making it easier to pollute the air that our children breathe and the water our children drink. they dismantled net neutrality that protects consumers and gave
i.s.p. to sell your most private information to anyone without your consent. republicans voted six times to ttack women's health health. months been trying to kick tens of millions of people off of health insurance, destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions and impose an age tax. the president is under some other illusion that he has the affordable care act. he has damaged it but hasn't repealed it. i don't know if he knows that. but no infrastructure bill. where is that famous infrastructure bill that was going to be the first thing out of the gate. not a single bill to create jobs or raise wages for americans. nothing that puts the middle class first. republican-controlled washington has been all you can eat buffet for the privileged and powerful and special interests.
they are just taking all the furniture, all the paintings off the wall, everything they can get to give away to corporate america. it's so obvious. it's so obvious. now after spending this entire year to give-aways to special interests, they have urgent overdue priorities for the american people and that takes us to what we are dealing with today. we have serious concerns about the continuing resolution that is on the floor. we don't have an agreement on an ongoing appropriations bill for next year because we do not have agreement on the caps. for those of you who follow the appropriations process, we don't have agreement on the caps. we had the budget agreement with parity. they call it 54-37 in terms of increases. we don't call that parity.
we call that disparity. and one of the concerns is the number between the domestic budget and defense budget at $17 billion, which is important, because it would be to address the opioid epidemic. 63,000 americans died in our country in 2016, which is the last year we have the number. 63,000 people died from opioids epidemic. lowering the life expectancy in our country that has had such an impact and saying to them between 57 and 34 let's make a commitment to the poll. but with no funding, we don't have any effect. chip and our community health centers, they have a bill in a way that children are paying for their own health care. we don't think that's right.
and give a trillion and a half dollars to corporate america. this is a five-year bill which we agree should be offset. ut not take it from children's innoculations, lead poisoning initiatives and the rest. we have been having bipartisan discussions on how to pay for chip, but they went their old way. the emergency disaster funding, if they do that right, passing the dream act. what we have said to them is everything we are suggesting to you is bipartisan. opioidses, veterans, n.i.h. funding and the dream act. but the republicans decided the tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% is more important than addresses the crises and the lives of the
american people. this is a shadow of uncertainty and fear over our dreamers. i just spent almost 2 1/2 hours in the rules committee. i mentioned in the beginning of my comments, pleading with them to do this justice and they are talking about comprehensive immigration reform. i said that's tine, we need to talk about that, but my colleague congressman lujan grisham made some excellent points said we are talking about chip, very discrete children's health insurance program and we agree we have to fund it and pass it. that doesn't mean we have to wait until we do everything everybody wants to do in health care in order to do this. same thing with the dreamers. it is a discrete emergency that we have now. let's deal with that in a discrete way instead of saying
we have to wait and do everything that we want to do on immigration. so, we'll see what happens today on the floor. republicans come to us for votes we could have been in the discussion on what's in this bill. and what's in this bill, we have strong disagreements with. the chairman and our ranking member sent a letter yesterday to members opposing the bill for how it treats veterans in the c.r. our ranking member on -- and that is mr. walz. our ranking member, mr. pallone on energy and commerce is opposing the bill for how it deals with chip. so substantively we have problems with this bill. we do see it as an opportunity for them to at least allow a te, at least allow a vote on dreamers, which i think we would
win, but hopefully we've made some progress and thinking to the urgency of it but were not aware of the fact that every day over 120 dreamers lose their status, which means they can't work, they can't go to school. it changes your legal status. that's over -- well over 10,000 already have lost their status and saying we can wait until march. well, we can't. i said that's an act of cruelty to wait until march when people are losing their status every day. the american people deserve an a congress that doesn't stack the deck against working families. we said we should be working together in a bipartisan way for comprehensive approach to tax reform. this is not reform. this is tax cuts for the rich in an unfairway. but we should work in a
bipartisan way because tax reform is only effective if it has sustainability and therefore has to be bipartisan, which means you have to compromise. we hope to do that to make that case to the american people, because we believe that america deserves a better deal, better jobs, better wages and a better future and that better -- what's interesting, they talk about this bill, this was just given to me -- they talk about corporations are going to raise everyone's wages. one of the -- over the past several weeks in anticipation of this bill, major companies have stonished $87.3 billion in share buybackses in anticipation of the bill. $83 billion. and the tax bill will lead to more jobs. those jobs are overseas.
then at&t, they made a big announcement that they were going to give a bonus to their workers. kind of a pin the rose on this tax bill. that bonus was mandated by union agreement with the communication workers of america as part of a raise in their last agreement. all of a sudden they are advertising this is something they will do because of the tax bill. most corporate executives have not gone on record to say i'm going to hire more people and i'm going to raise more wages. when we say creating jobs and increasing paychecks that's part of that better deal, lowering the cost of living by lowering the cost of prescription drugs
and hurt competition and give every american the cools we need for 21st sent jobs. apprenticeships and paid on the job training. on that score, it's interesting to note -- they now created a big increase in the national debt. so, what are we going to do about it? we are going after medicare and medicaid and said raise the age of social security. that will be part of our fight this year, to say you may be using that big debt as an excuse to do what you have always wanted to do. you never believed in medicare and medicaid. and now you are going to go after them. that will be part of the fight we will have and our teachings across the country. the need for change to it will be addressed and how the consequences in terms of
medicaid, medicare and social security will be affected. but that is a debate that we welcome. so it's a busy time and see what happens the rest of the day. i don't know how long we will be here. not making plans the next couple of days. who knows when they have the votes and see the senate does with what they send over. yes, sir. reporter: on entitlement reform do you think that is possible in this congress? and if so, what are some of the things that democrats could get on board with? ms. pelosi: this is part of the starve the beast value system that the republicans have. they do not believe in governance. so any public role in the health and well-being of the american people is on their hit list. and so when they go after
entitlements, it's not because -- because it's an increase in the deficit, because they don't care about increasing the deficit, it helps -- oh, we can't do that. but giving tax breaks to corporations, it doesn't matter anymore. that is completely separate subject as to how we sustain, as we did in the affordable care act. we prolonged the life of medicare for over 10 years, maybe 13 years. social security is in reasonable ape at least until 2030-something. we want that to be even longer and these are issues that can be talked about separately. but we will fight to defend them because they are about the health and economic security of america's working families and
we will not lose medicare, medicaid and social security as an a.t.m. machine to give breaks to wealthy america. reporter: you could call paul ryan and keep the government open for two more weeks and that would give americans knowing that the government would stay open. why not vote to keep the government open? ms. pelosi: wait a minute. wait a minute. the republicans control the congress, they control the house and senate and signature in the white house. they have the votes to keep government open. they don't need us to keep government open. and we have never been about shutting government down. i'll tell you a story that i just told them up in the rules committee because they were talking about working together on this or that. they said a long time ago,
government shut down, it was a few years ago when they shut government down, and it was in a moment similar to this. it's important for you to know this and perhaps some of you remember it or remember me talking about it before. we had come to an agreement, bipartisan, bicameral and with the white house agreement that we would have $1 trillion top line for the budget and that's -- the appropriators would write bills under that number. it was a compromise. and that was how we proceeded. democrats and republicans, house and senate, the president of the united states, barack obama. allocate instruction to the appropriators, the republicans in the house said not so fast. they already agreed to it but
rethought it and said not so ast, we want 988 and not going one penny. $988 billion. their chairman, mr. rogers, distinguished chairman, republican chairman of the appropriations committee, said we cannot meet the needs of the american people at that number. republican chairman, we cannot meet the needs of the american people at that number. our members were very unhappy because this was really a disservice to the debate we had before and they were criticizing and not going to vote for it. criticize all you want did you don't say you are going to not vote for it. we come to the june 30 deadline 988.till in-- insisting on barack obama said ok.
senate democrats, 988. the senate republicans, 988. this is the house republican budget number, 988. i called mr. boehner said we cannot shut government down. it's wrong for the american people as much of my members despise what you are doing. i'll give you 200 votes to keep government open. that's how many democrats we had. i'll give you 200 votes. and that should -- he said i can't bring up the bill. this agreement, everybody, the president, senate, democrats and republicans, house democrats now agreeing to the republican house number, i'm giving you what you want. he said i can't bring it up. i don't have the votes. i can't bring it up with 18 votes. so what was that about? the only people who were not
agreeing to the house republican budget number or the house republican members. they shut down government. 17 days later, government reopened. and many of the people who voted to shut it down and keep it losed are in the house and o.m.b. so their responsibility on keeping government open is with the majority and we have never advocated shutting government down. again, they have the votes, they can keep government open. if they want us to vote for some bills, we have to have some cooperation what they are and not bills that are veteran affairs committee ranking mbers said is not right or chip. i did have a conversation with the speaker this morning.
write the bill, but we want your vote. no. you have the majority, you have the issues, give us dreamers. let's talk about this language, no. reporter: do americans care about that? ms. pelosi: that's not the point. they have the votes. i don't know if you are playing devil's advocate -- we have never been advocates for shutting government down. hopefully it's not going to be shut down and see what their vote is today. reporter: today's c.r. includes chip funding through march. do you see that as an olive branch? ms. pelosi: no. reporter: is there special significance to defend funding for chip? ms. pelosi: here's the thing about chip. it was one of the first bills when we took the majority and
had a president so we could get a signature on chip was one of the first bills we passed house and senate when we took the majority. and so this has been part of our value system, our children's health. so -- but the question is how is it paid for. and the reason we voted against the bill they had on the floor earlier this year on chip because they paid for children's health by having children pay for it. hether it is lead poisoning. >> members are gaveling back in to debate temporary government funding. resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018.