Is Pelosi Crazy?
While at the YMCA tonight I was watching C-Span. Why I do not know, but they were playing Pelosi’s weekly briefing. I wish I could find a way to link the video other than linking to C-Span. Will keep trying, but here is the transcript from today. You lose some effect by not being able to see her face and her really odd expressions while she is talking. One of my most favorite parts is where she says, that Republicans across the country actually support this bailout! Is she nuts? Ok well here it is for your listening and reading pleasure:
As I said yesterday, one week and one day back, the President on the steps of the Capitol called for swift and bold action. He called for investments to create jobs. He called for cutting taxes to the middle class, 95 percent of the American people. He called for investments in innovation, in science, in education, in health care, and building infrastructure of America, including a modern grid to distribute renewable energy resources, which he called for investments in as well. One week and one day from his call to action, the House of Representatives passed legislation doing just that.
So we are very, very proud of the action taken by the House today. We look forward to the bill being taken up in the Senate, go to conference and have this recovery package signed into law before we leave for the Presidents’ Day break.
The next week, we can talk about what is on the schedule for next week if you wish. But we are very, very proud of what has happened in a mere week and two days since the President became the President of the United States.
I would be pleased to take any questions.
Q: Madam Speaker, I want to ask you about this vote yesterday. All Republicans, and even some of your fellow Democrats, say that they had to vote against it because of excess spending. They said that this didn’t stimulate the economy, excess spending that your lieutenants put into this bill. Given that, is it your fault in some ways that Barack Obama’s first vote was so partisan and not bipartisan?
Speaker Pelosi. Listen, we didn’t come here to be — I didn’t come here to be partisan. I didn’t come here to be bipartisan. I came here, as did my colleagues, to be nonpartisan, to work for the American people, to do what is in their interest.
The President’s agenda is reflected in this legislation. As I mentioned, some of the priorities that were there were creating jobs, cutting taxes, helping states through this difficult economic time and to do so in a fiscally sound way. People vote for what they believe in.
Clearly the Republicans did not believe in the agenda that I just described for you, and that is probably one of the reasons they voted that way. I think they probably voted their conscience, and they couldn’t support that.
But we are very, very proud of the product that came out of our legislative step one and look forward to working — we have reached out to the Republicans all along the way. And they know it. They were part of the original bill with some of the tax provisions were their suggestions. They had what they asked for in terms of committee markups. They had the vote on the floor that gave them plenty of opportunity to make change. They just didn’t have the ideas that had the support of the majority of the people in the Congress.
They won one — Mr. Platts won an amendment for openness in the process, and I think it was a valuable addition to the legislation.
I take credit for the great action taken by the Congress one week and one day since the President called for bold and swift action on the steps of the Capitol.
Q: … is if your principal opponents are not John Boehner or Eric Cantor. They were Rush Limbaugh or Matt …
Speaker Pelosi. I won’t speak to that. I am the Speaker of the House. I don’t get into that.
Q: Can you characterize the role that Obey played in crafting the bill and getting it through the House?
Speaker Pelosi. David Obey is a master at work. To see him craft legislation is a sight to behold. He and other chairmen played an important part in translating the agenda that the Obama Administration has presented to us into legislation. And we are all deeply in his debt for the masterful work that he did and doing so in a very short time frame.
Q: Speaker Pelosi, do you regret adding the tax cuts and taking out some provisions, like the contraception provision, because no Republicans — it didn’t get any Republican votes?
Speaker Pelosi. No. The fact is that — and you said, “Do you regret putting in the tax cuts?” The tax cuts were, especially the net operating loss carry back, were at the suggestion of the Republicans. They asked for it. We put it in the original bill at their suggestion, and it had its role to play. I think everyone will admit, more jobs are created by more on the investment side than on that side. But we shall see.
And as far as the contraception is concerned, we will have to have that in some legislation. It saves $700 million. But it was a distraction. It was a distraction, and therefore, we want to say, “Look, our economy is experiencing great difficulties. The American people, therefore, are, too. We need to act, and we need to act now.”
And the question before us is: Do you want to take the country in a new direction where many more people participate in the economic prosperity of our country? That we must act now, 500,000 people a month are losing their jobs. So rather than have a distraction at this time, I thought it was important to be in the bill because it is a savings. The bill was scored higher once that came out because it saved $700 million.
But I am very pleased with how that has proceeded. Yes.
Q: Madam Speaker, President Obama did make it very clear from the start of this process that he wanted a bill that would have broad bipartisan support. So was this a failure or at the very least a disappointment not to have a single Republican support it? And secondly, what is the President talking about in his statement last night about seeing this bill improve in the Senate?
Speaker Pelosi. I don’t think he said “improved.” He said “strengthened.”
Speaker Pelosi. So we will see what happens with this. This is step one in the process.
But, look, the President reached out before he came President, before he was even sworn in, to have a bipartisan meeting of the leadership, House and Senate. He met with House and Senate bipartisan leadership after he became President. He met with the Republican leadership. He met with the Republican Caucus. Before he walked into the room, the Republican leaders told their Members, before the President came into the room, don’t vote for this bill. So they had a decision that they made.
Now, each Member has to make his or her own decision about what they believe in. And I believe that this was a good bill for education, for renewable energy, for making us energy independent, for investments in innovation to keep us competitive in the world economy, for cutting taxes, for creating good paying jobs in the near term and with the time release to stabilize the economy over the longer term. They disagreed. They didn’t vote for it.
But you know what, when you can’t win on policy, then you turn to process, and then you turn to personalities. The fact is, we have a very important job to do. And again, the process is secondary to this. They had, again, they told me they thought the rule was fine. They had their opportunities for a substitute, for a motion to recommit, for amendments. This is very inside. Republicans in the country support this legislation, support this legislation. Whatever the tactics of the Republicans in Washington is another thing. But this isn’t about partisan or bipartisan. It is about being nonpartisan and acting in the best interest of the American people. And that is all I am about going to say on process.
Any other questions?
Q: … provisions in the bill according to the CBO, the spending provisions, not the tax provisions, aren’t going to spend out within 2 years: 52 percent will; 42 percent won’t. If the point of the bill is to stimulate the economy and to act swiftly and boldly, as the President said, why enact those provisions which will take 5 to 10 years to spend out?
Speaker Pelosi. I don’t agree with your basic premise. The fact is that 75 percent of this bill will be spent out in the first 18 months, and immediately, there will be a higher level of confidence in families, in businesses, in our economy, because of these infusions of investment. So, again, the White House has stated and we have insisted that at least two thirds of it go in the first 18 months.
Q: Two thirds or 75 percent?
Speaker Pelosi. Seventy five percent, 75 percent in the first 18 months.
And it is absolutely necessary. Again, 500,000 Americans are losing their jobs every month. If we don’t pass this legislation in a timely fashion, that will continue. The economy, at the rate that it is going, the continuation of the Bush years would have added 2 percent more to the unemployment rate. This bill will take us in a new direction.
Again, we are very proud of it. We look forward to seeing what the Senate does, come to conference, have this all done.
But our next order of business on the agenda is to pass the children’s health insurance program next week. The Senate today — we will pick up in the House the Senate legislation next week.
And so in addition to the celebration that we had this morning at the White House to end pay discrimination in the workplace and make it fair, and next week, we will make sure that health insurance is expanded to 11 million children in America. We are very excited about that. And then, following that, we will pass the recovery act and take our country in a new direction under the leadership of Barack Obama.
Believe me, it is so different to work on this legislation and then be there to see it signed into law, to change public policy, to make a difference in the lives of America’s working families.
Thank you all.