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Nancy Pelosi
  House Speaker Pelosi Holds News Conference  CSPAN  August 13, 2020 4:30pm-5:09pm EDT

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tonight, eugene the debs -- v. d ebs. >> nancy pelosi held her weekly news conference. she provided an update on coronavirus relief negotiations with republicans. she also reacted to senator kamala harris being named to the vice presidential running mate.
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speaker pelosi: good morning. how are you all? stay well.
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i will begin and end that way. 90 days ago, congress past the heroes act. 90 days. when we passed that legislation, which was designed to meet the needs of the american people in relationship to the coronavirus crisis, it was based on science, economics, and institutional expertise, as what was needed to address the needs of the american people. at that time, mitch mcconnell said we need to pause. he hit the pause button, and since that time, since that 90 days, 3,750,000 americans have become sick, have been added to the infected list. tens of millions more people are out of work. clearly the virus did not take a pause. when sometimes some of you reporters ask why can't we resolve our differences, i want you to see how vast those differences are. it is no wonder we have a vast difference, because this administration and the republicans in congress have never understood the gravity of the situation. for months, and even until now, they have ignored the signs. they called it a hoax, by miracle it would go away -- i'm a deeply religious person and i believe in miracles, and i believe the miracle of science will help us through this. magically it would go away. it was a hoax. no, they are the hoax. and so the virus has picked up steam. and like a freight train, it is coming down the tracks. and they, like a convoy, going as slow as the slowest ship, are going so slowly that they will never -- at that rate they will never overtake the virus. we cannot let that stand. let's just talk about it from the standpoint of the children.
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as a mother of five, grandmother of nine, advisor to people with children whether they want my advice or not, i want to just talk about the children. millions of children in our country are food-insecure. that has existed before the virus. it is completely exacerbated because of the virus. and so in the bill, we have over $60 billion to meet the hunger needs of the american people, food stamps, wic, women with infant children initiative, food banks, other nutrition initiatives. in the gop that came out a couple weeks ago, 250,000
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dollars. $60 billion, $250,000. does that say anything about our value system? millions of families on the verge of eviction in our country. we tried to get this legislation in earlier covid bills. they rejected it. now the moratorium is coming to an end. a moratorium without money is not that great. the princeton eviction lab, the low income housing coalition, all of these authorities have told us it will take about $90 billion in the current situation. without $100 billion in the heroes act--we have $100 billion in the heroes act.
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they have zero, nothing. testing interesting. if we do not defeat of our--testing and tracing. if we do not defeat the virus, we will not be able to open up the economy and open schools to flee to send our children--safely to send our children to school. $75 billion. they said, oh, we will go up to $16 billion. since the bill 90 days ago and the fact that we were hopeful that if we could pass it then, we can stop the spread of the virus, but since we didn;t, the virus has taken its additional toll, it has made matters worse in terms of opening the schools. we have increased our number because the association of school superintendents say we need at least $200 billion in order to safely open schools and that does not include $4
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billion. they are very precise for technologies for kids. remote learning. they have $105 billion. what is interesting about their $105 billion is the bulk of those in the bill goes to only schools that are opening actually. only schools that are opening actually. of the 100 largest -- see, we learn every day from those on the front lines, instead of those on the sidelines -- from the 100 largest school districts in the country, the 100 largest, 62 of those largest districts have the code that they will open--have declared that they will open virtually. completely virtually. remote learning. another 15 or so, hybrid. a small number actual. but the president's money, who
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says, will go to the schools that open actually, when it is a small percentage of those 100 top schools. so, again, for the children to go to school, it relates to the rate of infection in the community in which they live and their formulas that the scientists have put forward. it also is about money, about if you are going to have children in school, you must have more spacing. we have more spacing, you need more room, and if you need more rooms, meeting with teachers, you need better -- you need more teachers, you need better ventilation. nearly half of the schools do not have the appropriate ventilation system as it is, much less to contain a pandemic.
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for the teachers, for the support staff and all that go into opening the school, it takes money. and we have shown them well documented by all sorts of experts in the field that to do virtual, to do actual, and to do hybrid costs about the same amount of money. for the president to say he will put the bulk of the money into schools that open actually ignores the needs of our children and their safely being able to go back to school. my grandkids have every version of the story -- public school, catholic school, private school, people who teach, as well as my grandchildren who go there. it is a problem. we keep coming back to the virus. the virus and the children.
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as you know, they have said testing is overrated. they have said tracing doesn't really work. they have mocked masks, the distancing from and the rest. but it has to be done, until we have a vaccine, which god willing and science creating, we will have a vaccine sometime soon. hopefully legitimately, not skip any steps in terms of its safety and efficacy. but right now we don't have it. we do have testing, tracing. and i am optimistic that science has given us a path where we can do much more testing, come closer to our goal, what we should have had from the start, 300 tests a day. 300 tests a day.
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and the testing -- scientists -- innovation has taken us so far down the road in this period of time. but we need the defense production act to be called into play and able to take us to the number of tests, just take the test here, and before the press conference is over, 15 minutes, you would have the results. making a tremendous -- just a game changer altogether. but it would require the defense production act, because the firms that are excelling in this do not have the production capacity to take us to 3 million a day. it is important because so much of the disparity we see in the spread of the virus is into communities of color, which have been not properly served in all of this. the amount of deaths is disproportionate to the demographics of the number of people in our population. but think about the children.
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--think about the children. think about this -- if you are an hispanic child, you are 8 times more likely to go to the hospital because of the coronavirus than other children. if you are an african-american child, you are five times more likely to go to hospital for the coronavirus than other children. that challenges the conscience of our country. it is indicative of the disparities in the community at large, the impact on a children. we have to do this come and we have to do it in a more significant way than going from 15 to 16.
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and i am hopeful, i'm hopeful that at long last they may pay attention to science and say if that is what is there for us, we have to act upon it and have the defense production act to produce the tests. and with that rate of -- that is to say, you can find out in a matter of minutes, that makes all the difference in the world in terms of tracing, and you can get tested more frequently, because it is much less expensive to do. and so we talked about schools. in terms of housing, housing has a big impact on the psychological well-being of children. this is a very, very important issue for us. when they said the president by executive order was going to do
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a moratorium on evictions, good! not good enough, because we need money, so they don't have to be collecting more months of back rent and then at the end of the have to pay 8 months, whatever it is, 9 months of back rent. and we have a model for it that we implemented during the 2008-2009, during that great recession. so we are just using that model for this here. nothing. ok, so there we are on that. if we are going to educate our children, it is not just the federal dollars that matter, is the state and local money that goes into -- over 90% of the funds for public education come from state and local government. to withhold money from that, well, it is ideological.
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what did mitch say? let them go bankrupt. let them go bankrupt. economists tell us that our economy depends on the fiscal soundness of state and local governments. state and local government employees, what, 15% of our population? when they don't have resources because they've spent money on coronavirus or they have revenue lost because of coronavirus, without an infusion of cash, they will be furloughing or firing people. already 1.5 million. it could go up a million people later on. it will go on phonics i'm it insurance. -- they will go on unemployment insurance. what are we saving there? diminishing first responders, teachers teachers teachers,
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sanitation, food workers and the rest. needs won't be met, people will be out of work, and they will go on unemployment insurance. much is being said -- this is about the lives and livelihoods of the american people. the lives and the livelihood of the american people. it is also about the life of our democracy. i see much in the news about postal service and what they are trying to do to the postal service, which is -- well, they have always had an idea of privatizing it, because that is who they are. but this time, the postal service is the most popular agency of government. it is a quasi-government agency.
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nonetheless, the u.s. postal service, memorialized in the constitution of the united dates. -- united states. perhaps you saw my letter the letter the members sent to the postmaster general. the congress empowers--empowers congress to establish post offices and post roads. so we had a role in this. in the heroes act, we put $25 billion. that figure is the figure that was recommended by the board of governors of the u.s. postal service. bipartisan board of governors of the u.s. postal service. 100% appointed by donald trump. 100% appointed by donald trump. $25 billion. they also asked for $25 billion for some infrastructure, trucks and all that.
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we didn't put that in this bill. we put it in the moving forward infrastructure bill in the hopes the president would come around to that. what was immediately needed now with this money? there has been some word that the negotiators might be willing to do some money, but we had trouble with the language, and that has to be taken care of. but the president has said today yesterday -- reported today -- he wasn't putting any money in the postal service. again, for those of you old enough to remember, motherhood, apple pie, the postal service, an all-american institution. did i tell you that 1.2 billion
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prescriptions were delivered in 2090 by the postal service -- in 2019 by the postal service? did i mention that nearly 100% of veterans' prescriptions come through the postal service? you probably know of people writing to santa or birthday cards being exchanged and the rest. i know much of it is electronic these days, but not all of it. and actually come in rural america, the postal service is highly depended on. they have not ever like the postal service because they always want to find a way to make money off of something and they wanted privatize. but now at the time of a pandemic, you would think they would have a little sensitivity. but so obsessed are they to undermine absentee voting that this is their connection there. so the president says he's not
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putting up any money for absentee voting and he is not putting up any money for the postal service, undermining the health of our democracy. the money for the election that is in the bill is not just about absentee ballots. it's about -- it is a reason to vote by mail because you don't have to spend money and hours and have more proximity than you wanted, or go to a polling place that might not be spaced properly. so it is a health issue. you shouldn't have to choose between your health and your ability to cast your vote. the money in the bill is about making sure that if you want to go to a polling place, they are safe, there are enough polling places, that they are open sufficiently early that they are open in terms of days from in terms of hours in the day, that they are sufficiently available
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for people to vote without jeopardizing their health, and that they would have boxes to see if someone wanted to bring his or her ballot to a box. did you see in ohio they announced just having one box for county? i guess that is a discourtesy to the people of ohio if they want to vote that way. but there are people who think that the post office is election central in this election. maybe the president thinks that, too, and that is why he wants to shut it down. again, the post office is a pillar of our democracy. setting medicine to seniors, paychecks to workers, absentee
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ballots. the president is making a biggest -- nothing wrong with absentee ballots, i just want to vote by mail. i said to my folks don't call it vote by mail, call it absentee ballots. they are exactly the same thing. his family, as i asked that to you before, has been active in recent elections in california in robo calls urging people to get their absentee ballots. there is inconsistency, not surprising, but nonetheless, there on that. in any event, it is really important. we have said we are ready to compromise. we know the first offer is not something they would necessarily accept. but as a practical matter, where can we find common ground? leader schumer and i said we will come down a trillion if you come up a trillion. we will meet you halfway. we can negotiate how those resources are spent. but we do not subscribe to saying to the american people, the virus is intensifying, and for you, we have a benefit cut.
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let's see how we can work together to get this done. they called yesterday, the secretary, and said would you like to sit down, and we said what we have said all along, you come down a trillion, we will go up a trillion. but we are not sitting down to validate what you have proposed, because it does not meet the needs of the american people, and we will not contribute to you waiving a partial benefit to the public at the expense of everything else we want to do and to the benefit of the high end which you are there to serve. think of it this way -- we go to the table, we are sitting at america's kitchen table, there for america's working families.
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how are we going to pay the rent, put food on the table, safely send children to school, how are they going to have resources to meet their needs? across the kitchen table are people sitting at the boardroom table of corporate america. we have different perspectives. any questions? reporter: madam speaker, to what do you attribute the president's hostility to the post office mailing holiday? republicans vote through the mail the semi-democrats do. speaker pelosi: i can tell you, as a longtime former chair of the california democratic party, we could win any election getting out the vote on election day, but when the mail ballots came in republicans would rage. they have always known how to do it and very well. democrats are saying in terms of this pandemic that it is necessary health-wise as well as
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the health of our democracy to do this. you have to ask them, except that the president is afraid of the american people. he has been afraid of them for a while. he knows that legit it would be hard to win. we do not agonize, we organize. whatever the reality is we have to deal with, if he refuses to honor the sacred right of the vote, removing obstacles of participation. if he wants to undermine the post office, we will be here in january. that is most unfortunate, but we will have the volunteer power to make sure our vote gets out early and that it gets out and it has a clear decision on election day. reporter: madam speaker, we are sitting here in the middle of a stalemate that has now lasted four days, and congress has
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other big deadlines. september 30. can americans wait that long for something? how do you expect republicans to get back to the people before that? speaker pelosi: first of all, let me just say we pass that bill 90 days ago. it took them until two weeks ago to come back with a meager piecemeal bill that they put forth. o--they said, oh, we all work better against a deadline. no, the virus doesn't have a deadline, nor does it take a pause. the american people doesn't want uncertainty. let's get some certainty to america's working families. we cannot wait until september 30, and as some have said,
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people will die. 77,000 died since this bill. we have said to them, we are here, $2 trillion, let's sit down and divide how we would spend that, and based on science and evidence and data and facts how we can make the biggest germans to send our children to school safe and open up the economy as well as put money in the pockets of the american people while the honor our heroes by supporting state and local government. they called yesterday and said, do you have more money, because it is no use -- the needs of the american people are not changing. they are only getting more so, they are not lessening. reporter: on the postal service issue, the president's remarks yesterday about his concerns about fraud in mail, that seems to be from his vantage point one of the biggest sticking points
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in these negotiations. did you speak with secretary mnuchin and meadows, the postal service board of governors? did they tell you that is why he is balking? speaker pelosi: didn't say he was balking. we just found out yesterday he was. but he has balked before when we try to do it in previous covid bills. what he is saying has no basis in fact. no basis in fact. that was a false claim of the president, another false claim of the president. reporter: do you view that as the biggest sticking point? speaker pelosi: no no no. we are trying to meet the needs of the american people. they are deciding what number one is. reporter: no, said we cannot have $25 billion for the postal service. speaker pelosi: prevent children from having food, safety in the
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schools, people from being evicted, although that, stopping the spread of the virus -- the postal service? that is what they are saying? you just claimed it. they are not told me that, no. no. but what they are saying -- see come it is different from what the president is saying. if they came in the room and said the president is never doing this from that is something we take to the american people, and the american people want the postal service protected and preserved. it is a really sad situation. but you know what? let's just remain calm. i've said this to you before. take a deep breath. what is going on here? how could it be 90 days as we have passed a bill? how could it be months since this virus has assaulted our health, our economy, education, everything? and we still do not have an acceptance of the science necessary to deal with it, ignoring what could help 1.2 billion prescriptions mailed in
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2019. yes, sir. reporter: i want to talk about yes, sir. reporter: i want to talk about her conversation with mnuchin yesterday, and he said it is not an accurate reflection of the conversation, and he said democrats have no interest in negotiating. your reaction? speaker pelosi: i think something was wrong with this statement, because chuck and i said that until they came down a trillion, we said we would go up a trillion, and we could meet in the middle. when they are ready to do that, we will sit down. we are not inching away from the meager, piecemeal proposal, the idea that the president, why can't you come to an agreement, because we are miles apart in our values. and so what he said was strange, because what he said was exactly
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what chuck and i said in a statement. we said $2 trillion, and then we can sit down at the table, and then he said "that's not what you said." did you think that that was strange? reporter: when is your next conversation with him? speaker pelosi: i don't know. when they come up with $2 trillion. reporter: madam speaker, thank you. you have outlined the differences here -- some of the differences. you have talked about how you believe you are on different pages in terms of your values. is there anything you gain by waiting, and do you feel that even half a loaf is something to stem the crisis would be better --
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speaker pelosi: you don't understand -- this is not half a loaf! this is not even being in the same room. boardroom table, kitchen table. perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gave a damn. that isn't the case. unless they see the reality of what it means in the lives of the american people, what good is it for us to agree to something that had no relationship to meeting the needs of the american people? reporter: next week is the democratic convention. you've talked before that you thought you would go home to california to be there with whatever delegation. is that what you are doing next week? speaker pelosi: that is what i'm
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doing that day. [laughter] speaker pelosi: you are starting to sound like my husband. [laughter] speaker pelosi: and my children, and my grandchildren. i'm so excited to be speaking at the convention. recently we thought we were going to wisconsin, to milwaukee, and that was something we were all looking forward to. milwaukee is a wonderful, wonderful place, and wisconsin is a wonderful state. and they were letting out such beautiful hospitality to showcase the city. i was there in san francisco in a nonpartisan role to play as the chair of the convention. it is about your community and how you showcase it to the world, and leave others to do the politics of the convention. that is unfortunate, but i hope we can all go to milwaukee sometime soon to celebrate the election of joe biden. so no -- and then they said you
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could do it virtually -- you could do it live to tape, or do it live, so we are doing at live from california. and we are so excited. we are so excited. wherever you are and whatever side of any discussion, when there is a decision, it just takes you forward, and we are so proud of soon to be the nominee -- officially joe biden is, but officially at the convention next week. and that will be great, and his nomination of kamala harris. let me say this about kamala harris -- people say oh great, first woman of color, this and that, to be nominated.
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she is a woman of color, but i don't want anybody to get the impression that -- everybody in that field was great. anyone of them would have been a great president. but even if she were in a competition with all men, she would have emerged, because she is the best person to be the vice president because of the confidence that joe biden has in her. you have to be able to be president. you have to cause no harm in the campaign. and you have to have the confidence of the nominee for governance. she would exceed any demographic in net regard. you could see his confidence. it was beautiful. reporter: thank you. you said republicans seem to be comfortable with a qanon supporter, but i'm curious what you think about marjorie taylor greene, and what was your reaction when she called to the b-word?
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speaker pelosi: you know i don't pay attention when the president calls me horrible things. it is a judgment to be made about them as to who they welcomed into their ranks. we all have diversity of opinion, and that is the beauty of the mix in congress. but to have behavior that is the needs dignity of the congress--beneath the dignity of the congress, that is a judgment about them. probably won't see you next week, unless you are going to be in california or whatever. in any event, thank you for what you do. i think freedom of the press is such an important freedom in our constitution, the first
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amendment, because you are the guardians of the gate of our democracy, which i think has some real risk at this time. so thank you all for what you do. stay safe. reporter: could a package under $2 trillion passed the house, madam speaker? ♪ contenders, about the men that ran for the presidency and lost on c-span. tonight, founder of several labor unions and five-time socialist party presidential candidate.
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>> joe biden and his running mate senator kamala harris spoke to the press after receiving a briefing from public health experts on the coronavirus pandemic. their remarks were delivered at the hotel dupont, a historic property in wilmington, delaware. vice pres. biden: good afternoon, folks. i'm going to be brief. i have been getting a briefing on average four times a week since march from a group of public health experts on the state of coronavirus and all aspects relating to it. again, whichtoday is the normal briefing i