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Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Julio Vaqueiro for Telemundo’s Noticias Telemundo to discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling on DACA, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and other news of the day. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Julio Vaqueiro. Madam Speaker, thank you very much for your time, thank you for being with us.
Speaker Pelosi. My pleasure. Thank you, Julio.
Julio Vaqueiro. So, I wanted to start by talking about Dr. Anthony Fauci being on the Hill. He said that these coming two weeks are going to be critical in slowing the virus down. Do you think we are ready as a country to stop the virus?
Speaker Pelosi. No, we aren’t because the Administration has failed to take the steps necessary. We have, for a long time, starting March 4th, we passed our first legislation: testing, testing, testing. And this Administration knows that testing, tracing, treating and keeping people separated is the way to stop the spread of this virus, and yet, they have refused to take that action, unfortunately.
In our Heroes Act, which is now on the Senate side, once again, we call for a strategic plan for testing, tracing, treatment. This is very important for us to address the disparity in the deaths from the coronavirus in communities of color because we just don’t have the sufficient information about where it is hitting, how it is hitting and how we can stop it.
Julio Vaqueiro. Now, we have cases rising in almost half of the states in the country. The President is visiting one of those states today, Arizona. And the White House says everything is under control, but do you think this Administration is in denial?
Speaker Pelosi. Oh, they’ve been in denial from the start. Imagine this, I was saying to the Members last week, on the 17th of June – well, let’s say the 17th of March, go back that far – there were 100 people who died of the coronavirus on the 17th of March. On the 17th of June, three months later, over 117,000 Americans died because of denial, because of refusal to accept that we need to test, even if this means it’s evidence of more cases that the President seems to want to avoid.
So, delay and denial equal death, unfortunately. I hate to speak in those harsh terms because we are talking about life and death. We are talking about the lives of people, the livelihoods of their families, the life of our democracy.
And yet, this is an indictment and we have – we are at a moment, and we have to not only seize the moment; Dr. King spoke about the ‘urgency of now.’ This is the – more than urgent, the purpose of now: to save lives. Especially in our communities of color, which have been in a disparate – a terrible way, affected in greater numbers than should be, compared to the rest of the population.
Julio Vaqueiro. Why do you think that is, Madam [Speaker], that minorities are being more affected by the virus?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, first of all, because many cases, they have not had access to testing. Testing is essential because then you can find out the gravity of the situation, the location of the situation. You have a handle on it.
And so, in many cases, people said, ‘Well, we shouldn’t be tested unless you’re doing this, that or the other thing or live here or there.’ But in many cases, it’s geography. We have to reach out. We have to have mobile units to go out into the community and say this is – we want you to have access to testing so that you can have treatment, you can have tracing.
You have the testing, then you trace to see the extent of it and then the treatment in terms of insisting on separation and the rest of it, so it doesn’t spread. It’s just so unfair and, of course, it relates to other disparities in access to health care, as well, and other access to clean air, clean water and the rest that goes with all of this.
So, it is, it is a signal of so much else, other disparity. But we can do something about this and we have made a decision to do it in our Heroes Act. We’re calling upon the President: test, test, test. Trace, trace, trace. Treat, treat, treat. Isolate, stop the spread of this virus.
Julio Vaqueiro. Madam Speaker, let me move on to immigration. President Trump, he’s visiting the border wall today and he’s pushing on his anti-immigration policies. Should immigration, legal immigration, be stopped in order to give jobs back to the American people as President Trump believes?
Speaker Pelosi. No, I think that’s absolutely wrong. I think the vitality of America springs from newcomers who come to our country.
We want the Senate to pass our Promise – our [American Dream and Promise Act], which protects our Dreamers, TPS, others. We think that they should do that right away. The bill is sitting there on Mitch McConnell’s desk. In addition to that, we need comprehensive immigration reform.
The idea that newcomers slow down our economy is completely upside down. When newcomers come with their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations for a better future for themselves, for the children, for their families, well, they’re all-American traits about optimism, hope and courage and determination for a better future. And those newcomers make America more American. They don’t take jobs away from other people.
Julio Vaqueiro. Now, President Trump, and the whole Administration, has warned that they’re going to keep on trying to end DACA.
Speaker Pelosi. Yeah.
Julio Vaqueiro. What’s your take on that?
Speaker Pelosi. You know, I’m being very honest with you, Julio. I’m not being very diplomatic. I think that the President’s action, in terms of DACA, has been cruel, has lacked compassion, it’s been cowardly — afraid of these beautiful young people, the gold standard of people coming to our country, young and optimistic and the rest. Thank God for their parents who brought them here. We thank them for that.
And for the Court to say that the President did it wrong, they didn’t really actually strike it down. They just struck down how he did it.
Julio Vaqueiro. Yes.
Speaker Pelosi. And for him to say he would come back — 80 percent of the American people support our Dreamers. They — over 70 percent think they should have a path to citizenship, and that’s Democrats, Republicans, independents, everybody. Everybody, except the President of the United States and some of his, shall we say, ‘whatevers’ and the Republicans in the United States Senate. The bill is there to protect them. Let’s get it done.
But thank God the Court gave us this reprieve, even though it was only based on the manner in which the President did it, and not supporting the idea that President Obama, in his greatness and his goodness, instituted DACA.
Julio Vaqueiro. So, yeah, so we know that Dreamers need a permanent solution, but what has to happen for it to go through? When and how should this take place?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, this is not a political conversation, but it will happen when we have a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President of the United States. For some reason, the Republicans in the Senate have been afraid of our Dreamers. Not all of them, but too many of them.
So, the election is going to be very important in this regard and it’s only, what, 133 days away. And, after that, the Dreamers will be safe because I feel confident that we will succeed in this election.
But even just, if we have a Democratic House, which we will, a Democratic President — I think we can get a Senate – but, even just with the two branches, two corners on that, I believe that we will be able to pass DACA, all of it, TPS, the rest.
But what we really need is comprehensive immigration reform.
Julio Vaqueiro. Yes.
Speaker Pelosi. That does have bipartisan support. That should have bipartisan support. It has in the past, except the Republicans in the House would not bring it up to give us a chance. But it passed in a bipartisan way in the United States Senate.
So, I’m optimistic that that’s where we need to go. But, until we get there, we need to protect the Dreamers because it’s a short fuse that they are on.
Julio Vaqueiro. Yeah.
Speaker Pelosi. And this President, again, in his cowardice, his cruelty, his creepiness, has decided he’s going to go after the Dreamers again.
Julio Vaqueiro. Let me talk about race relations. I know you’ve passed a police reform in Congress and the Senate is working on one. How important do you think police reform is to improve race relations in this country?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, it’s very important. We will be passing it this week.
Julio Vaqueiro. Okay, yes.
Speaker Pelosi. We have introduced our bill. And it will come up on Thursday, hopefully, be finished on Thursday of this week. And it will be very important. It’s Justice in Policing, Justice in Policing.
And, again, the issue of race is a reality in our country and some of it is manifested in our law enforcement. Not everybody, of course. We don’t paint everyone with the same brush, but there are those.
So this justice, especially important to people of color because they happen to be, shall we say, victimized by some of the racism that does exist. So, this legislation is going to be very, very important because it will address certain aspects in terms of brutality. No more chokeholds, no more – and then, no more racial profiling and no more, of course, we don’t like the fact they kick in your door without a warrant, just on an alleged drug charge. Issues like that, fairness. And then, of course, in terms of the courts, we have consideration for immunity – qualified immunity, that we would like to see some changes in that, part of the bill.
We are very proud of our House bill. It’s right to the point. It’s about ending racism. It’s about ending brutality. It’s about fairness. And it has a bigger impact on people of color, unfortunately.
Julio Vaqueiro. Yes.
Speaker Pelosi. But it does, and that’s a reality we have to face.
And we want the Senate to act in a way that makes a difference. They have a bill that doesn’t make a difference. It recognizes some of the challenges, but it doesn’t make a difference. We want to make a difference. And that’s what we will do on Thursday and, hopefully, they’ll follow our lead.
Julio Vaqueiro. One last question, Madam [Speaker], after all these protests against police brutality, President Trump has been trying to depict the Democratic Party as an anarchist party. Are you concerned that your party is being identified as an extreme left, violent party?
Speaker Pelosi. No, but he would say that. He would say that because he’s an extreme right, and so he projects his own painting of what he is onto others.
I’m very proud of the Democratic Party. We’re beautifully diverse. Over 60 percent of our Caucus are women, people of color, LGBTQ. I’m very proud because, as different as we are in so many respects, we’re unified around America’s working families.
So, if the President wants to call raising the minimum wage or affordable care, health care, or building the infrastructure in a way that employs so many more people and gives ownership to businesses to engage in all of that, if he calls that extreme, then that’s his problem. But for us, it is the mainstream of America: lower health care cost, bigger paychecks, cleaner government, supporting America’s working families. That’s who we are. Proud to be.
Julio Vaqueiro. Madam Speaker, thank you very much for your time.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Julio. My pleasure.
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