Worcester, Mass. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Chairman Jim McGovern to highlight the support provided to families through the expanded Biden Child Tax Credit and discuss the importance of expanding access to affordable child care. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. McGovern, for your kind words. Any compliments I received about my work in common – in Congress, I accept on behalf of the House Democrats, the Congressional Democrats who have the courage to make the fight all the time. Easier in our districts where there’s so much good example, national standards of where we should be going. But for many of our colleagues, this is a fight because it’s always a battle on the budget.
I do believe that our budget should be a reflection – a national budget should be a reflection of our national values. What’s important to us, as a nation, should be reflected there. Hence, we proudly make the fight for the children.
It is such a treat – I would say honor and privilege, yeah – but it’s a real treat to be here at Rainbow. To see the joy in the children’s eyes, the respect that they are receiving, to express themselves in many different ways. And they’re really actually funny.
They have a sense of humor. They have a lot of confidence. Thank you, Rainbow, for that.
I want to thank Director Perrier for her leadership in all of this, because that leadership is making the difference. She acknowledged, and Mr. Chairman McGovern acknowledged, the staff. I want to salute them, too. What they tell me is when these children come in, they look them in the eyes and welcome them, and they feel very, very special.
And that was interesting – about talking with the parents, because the parents were telling what the difference the paychecks make, the Biden [Child] Tax Credit. [June], July, August, next week, September 15th, the third check will go out. They said something very interesting about what’s happening here, and about the differences those checks can make. They said, ‘We can see the difference in our children, what were able to do for them, whether it’s the technology to, to participate in any kind of learning with a distance, or at school, and what a difference Rainbow makes with the children.’ Children like to be with other children, we know that. And so this is a model for the country that we will take back.
And we told, we told Carole and Clifford and Jessica and Giselle, the parents who shared their stories with us, that we would – nothing is more eloquent about the difference the policy makes than their voices, as to the difference it makes to their families, to their children.
Now, I want to thank all of you who had anything to do with sending Jim McGovern to the Congress. Because I have to say, as, shall we say, knowledgeable as he is, as strategic as he is, as visionary as he is, he’s quite saintly. He really is that. He is there every single day to make sure the fight is made for people to have food.
Look at this. Is this fabulous to focus on fuel? Nancy Thibault was telling me in the other meeting that I said that fuel is nutrition, and it’s medicine, almost, for children. And she said, ‘No, we call it fuel here. It fuels all of your ambitions and their play time, as well as their learning.’
So again, this – there’s nothing more important. I have my five children myself, and my motivation for being in Congress – I always say to Members, ‘What is your why? Why are you here?’ My motivation was the one – the one in five children in America who lives in poverty and goes to sleep hungry at night. That got me out – when my kids got into college, et cetera, I was out of the kitchen and into the Congress, and from house homemaker to House Speaker, because of the children. Because, as Jim said, they’re 100 percent of our future.
So, what we’re doing is for them, personally, for them to reach their aspirations, so that they can go into the future with the confidence to make their difference, their contribution. Our former colleague, now not with us, Elijah Cummings used to always say, ‘Our children are messengers to a future we will never see.’ We want them to go into the future with every opportunity to reach their – every child in America – to reach their fulfillment and to have the values of our country be worthy of those children, as we advance them.
So, here we are: the Child Tax Credit is our focus. It’s making a big difference. But what also is happening in terms of the Rescue package – which was exactly that, a rescue, mostly related to COVID. Now, we go into the future, beyond COVID. The President’s motto was Build Back Better. We don’t want to return to where we were. We want to do better than that. And the best way, in my view, to do better than that is to Build Back Better With Women. Now, gentlemen, you too.
But women took a big bite of this apple, right, Senator and Congressman?
Women took a big bite of this, of COVID. Four and a half – 4.2 million women lost their jobs, couldn’t go to work, because their children weren’t in school, they couldn’t afford the child care.
One thing and then I’ll – President Clinton, excuse me, President Biden said to the to the Members, to the Republicans, ‘I want to do as much as I can with you in a bipartisan way to build the infrastructure of America, the physical infrastructure. But I will not confine my vision for the future to what we can only do in that infrastructure bill. As important as that is, we must Build Back Better.’
I said, ‘with women,’ and that means that women can now fully take their place in the workplace. It has child care, the Child Tax Credit that we’re here to talk about today. It has universal pre-K. It has paid family and medical leave. It has home health care, so if you have someone in the home who needs care, whether it’s a child, person with disabilities of any age, elderly parents and the rest, this bill is for you. If you have children who need to be in school, parents learning – children learning, parents earning. Parents are learning, too, from the children – then this bill for you. If you have someone sick, incidentally, not only ongoing, and you need – or somebody having baby, you need parental and child leave paid. Paid. So we’ve enabled, enabled – and many are dads in this situation. It isn’t just women who have these responsibilities, but women largely do.
So, for women, for children, for our economy, for our society, for our country, what the President is advocating is transformational. It’s not incremental; it’s transformational.
We took first steps to work together – well, actually 100 percent Democratic votes, that’s all, House and Senate, in the American Rescue package, but now we want to extend or make permanent as many of those benefits as we can. It’s pretty exciting. It’s really historic. Because many developed countries have all of these things, and we don’t – and why not? So, again, for the children, so that they can reach their fulfillment, knowing that they can be with other children. That’s really important.
As a mother five, grandmother of nine, I would say, I want to spend time with my grandchildren. I think, do they want to spend time with me?
They want to be with kids. They just want to be with kids. And this enables all of that to happen. So, I thank Rainbow for giving us this, this proof to take back to the Capitol, to say we’ve seen a wonderful example where so many – so much of it has come together.
I want to just end by talking about the food, the food situation. That in our country – where I first started, that one in five children in America goes to sleep [hungry]. The champion, as I said, saintly champion on this subject has been Jim McGovern.
For decades, he has been the champion of making sure that we never ignore that responsibility. And now, he has made a tremendous difference for the Democratic Congress and the Democratic President to remove all doubt, to remove all doubt that food will be there.
And so much about Rainbow is about teaching and how to grow the food, how to select the food and make the balance that they need. Eat smart, play hard. The other part of it is eat smart, so that you can learn and be smart.
So again, this is a real super treat. Thank you to Rainbow for your remarkable example, to the rest of the country and giving us the fuel that will strengthen our case, as we try to make all these things permanent. But we hope to do within the next month. Mr. Chairman, Chairman of the Rules Committee, will be the person who brings the bill to the Floor, if he chooses.
Chairman McGovern. I do.
Speaker Pelosi. You heard it here first. So, thank you for your leadership. Thank you for honoring us with your presence, all of you, especially our members of our official family. Thank you Ms. Perrier, for your leadership, as well.
With that I think, any difficult questions you have, Mr. McGovern will be happy to answer. If they’re very difficult, we can bring in the children.
Chairman McGovern. I can’t wait to tell my mother I was referred to as saintly today.
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Q: Speaker Pelosi, how can you actually expand access to child care, when we already have staff shortages, serious staff shortages at child care centers?
Speaker Pelosi. That’s what we’re allocating resources for. It’s for tax credits, but also, it’s also in another part of it for some infrastructure, as well support for the system of it. So, we’re not – and also, as you know, it’s about training and having, as you had here, people who were teachers or guides who are prepared for that. And the legislation calls for that in different parts of the legislation, the tax credit in one part of the bill, the other funding is in other parts of the bill.
But this is, the two things – if I just may divert for a second – the two things that are actually essential that we do in a massive way in our country, right away. And one of them is child care, affordable quality, child care, and all of that implies making it affordable to the family, but making the quality in every other respect. And this is the sidebar, but it’s very central in every other way. And that is to address mental health issues in a very different way. So, I myself have these two, and when we’re doing legislation we see – in this case, we can deal with the child care piece of it. Possibly, hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars.
Chairman McGovern. The only thing I’ll say is we also want in the second part of this is to invest in kind of the infrastructure for child care, to help provide jobs that pay a decent wage for people to take care of our kids, which is really important. I think that will attract more people into this field. So, I mean, this is the first time we have made this kind of investment ever in my career. But this is historic, because we can pass this.
Speaker Pelosi. It’s transformational, because in addition to everything that it does for the children, for families, for the industry, what child care is a value in our country. This is so essential to growing our economy in a different way, with women taking their proper role. We truly believe that when women succeed, succeed, America succeeds. And we want them to be able to go and work. To use the Latin phrase, ‘Age quod agis.’ Do what they are doing. Have their career path. This is fabulous for our economy, that we will have the fullest participation of women to the extent that that you’re enabling that to happen for the children, for the families, for the country.
Q: Congressman McGovern said you plan to bring the bill to the Floor soon. Is it complete? Or what needs to kind of still be done to for you to then bring it?
Chairman McGovern. So, as we speak, all the various committees of jurisdiction are doing their markups. I know on the Agriculture Committee, tomorrow’s a day for a mark-up. It will then go to the Budget Committee where they will try to put together a more holistic package. And then it will come to the Rules Committee, where we will, you know, make sure that it is ready to go to the Floor, and we will bring it to the Floor as quickly as possible.
So, look, I’m really excited about this. I mean, I, you know, I’ve been in Congress now for a while, but I have never been part of an effort that will be so transformational in terms of improving the lives of people in our country at every level. I mean, this is going to be a big deal.
Speaker talked about the physical infrastructure, roads, bridges. That’s going to happen. But this is the human infrastructure. It’s our kids. It’s affordable prescription drugs. It’s affordable daycare. It’s, it’s also dealing with the climate crisis and a whole bunch of other stuff. So, so we’re ready to go. Things are moving the way they’re supposed to move. And, you know, so far, so good.
Speaker Pelosi. I’m glad you mentioned climate, because that’s for the children as well. The infrastructure bill has its merits, but it doesn’t have much about climate. And so that’s why I say it’s for the future: to Build Back Better and For The Children. And children are so knowledgeable about climate. They could teach our Members, some of our Members on both sides of the aisle.
Chairman McGovern. Some of our Members need to go back to school.
Speaker Pelosi. But, but it is about recognizing the climate crisis, recognizing it’s the health issue for our children, the air they breathe, the water they drink. It’s a jobs issue, being pre-eminent in the world in green technologies, being first in the world. It’s a security issue. Our national security experts tell us that with the rising sea levels, the drying up of the rivers of Asia, the encroachment of deserts, warming of the planet. This will cause competition for habitat and resources and migrations that can cause conflict.
So, health, jobs, security. And it’s mostly a moral issue, if you believe as some of us do that this is God’s creation. And we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it. Even if you don’t share that view, we all agree that we have moral responsibility to our children to pass off this planet in a responsible way for them, For The Children. So again, it all comes down to the children.
And we have different roles in the House and in the Senate. They have to give our bill a Byrd bath and that means – it means the Congress is subjected to the Senate rules. And then that’s going to be up to the Rules Committee to do.
Q: Speaker Pelosi, the President is reportedly signing an executive order today requiring vaccinations for Executive Office employees and contractors in federal government. Can I just ask you to respond to that news today and also the President’s handling of these issues more broadly?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, the requiring the vaccinations I think is very important, as we know the success of it. The President, right from the start, has with the Rescue package – the most important part put vaccinations in people’s arms, money in people’s pockets who suffered from the COVID economy, children as soon as possible safely in school, and people safely back to work.
He has done this with the respect obviously for the science. You can’t do it any other way. And the resistance to vaccinations is something that is hard to understand. There are some people who just don’t trust science. They don’t believe in climate, the climate crisis, so they won’t support legislation to address that. They don’t believe in science. So, if you tell them scientists say you should wear the mask, and the local political entities, the government, any place says you should wear mask – they don’t believe in science; they don’t believe in government.
So, that’s a double whammy. ‘I don’t believe in science, and I don’t believe in government telling me what to do.’ Except you want to tell me what to do if I’m a woman and I want to have – plan my family in a certain way.
But I think the President has done a great job. He’s made a tremendous difference. From one March to the next, we’ve had a president calling it a hoax to another who is addressing it in an almost secured – national security way, putting every initiative we have, whether it’s reaching out, whether it’s education, whether it’s funding for more research and the rest, as this virus is resourceful and changing, that he too is resilient in his approach. We should all be very grateful that Joe Biden is President of the United States. Our country is much healthier for it. And we will get out of this in a very, very clear way, always addressing what we’re going to do for the future, already preparing for what we need in the supply chain, what we need in terms of education, to get the job done. But he does have our support. And that’s what we signed up for. That’s what we signed up for.
Did you want to add something?
Congressman McGovern. President Biden’s actions have saved millions and millions and millions of lives. And we can contrast that to the previous Administration that was indifferent and that was embracing conspiracy theories. You know, I’m not a scientist. I’m not a medical expert or a doctor, but I trust those who are. And we listen to them. And unfortunately, we have some in this country and some in our Congress who have embraced conspiracy theories that are just so beyond the pale, it’s hard to even comment on it.
I mean, we should all agree with that that’s a chair. I’ve got colleagues who would say it’s a dining room table. So, there’s some major disconnects going on. But unfortunately, when Members of Congress say things that are false and that are based on conspiracy theories, there’s people out there that want to believe them, because they’re Members of Congress. And so, part of the challenge right now is to make sure that everybody understands what the facts are and what the science is. And to the extent that we can all follow the President’s lead, we can get this virus under control. And we can stop its mutating and be able to get back to a posture that everybody wants where we don’t always have to wear masks and we’re not worried about, you know, the news every morning.
But make no mistake, this President has saved millions and millions and millions of lives. And there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God that he’s in the Oval Office, as opposed to the other guy.
Speaker Pelosi. Let me also add this. Any opportunity – any time we talk about COVID, we have to talk about our workers, our heroes. Our bill last year was called the HEROES Act. We could not get it passed under the previous Administration, but much of it is contained in the Rescue package. And it’s called the HEROES Act. It’s named for the health care providers, the first responders, police and fire sometimes are the first ones on the scene, when someone calls out for help. Our – you name it. Our food workers in the stores, our food workers, our teachers, our teachers, our teachers, our transportation workers, because transportation is so essential in all of this. They’re our heroes. We couldn’t get that recognition until the Rescue package in a way that was commensurate with their service. And in the Rescue package, we had a large commitment to state, county and local governments to keep these people employed. They were risking their lives to save lives. And they were losing their jobs, because of the loss of revenue for state, local and county governments. They didn’t have the money. They were losing revenue, because businesses were not thriving and the rest.
But this was so important, because in our localities and in our states, the state and local governments are what provides the full bulk of education, county hospitals and transportation systems and the rest. And yet, the shortfall of funds coming in because of COVID was having to have people lose their jobs. And so, in terms of it, it’s very direct, but it may not be clearly apparent. That made a tremendous difference in communities.
Now, we – as the representatives of the Congress, the House – we wanted to be sure that it went directly to the townships, to the cities and to the counties, not just to the states to be distributed by the governor. The state had its share to be distributed, but there was also a guarantee that the money would come in there. And that, again, honored our heroes – not enough, but certainly not to make matters worse for them.
So, the President has made a tremendous difference, a total difference, in how this pandemic has been approached based on science, listening to communities and, again, having public policy budget priorities to help match their needs.
Staff. Thank you all.
Q: Speaker, are you prepared to lose the House in 2022 if Congress fails to act on Roe v. Wade and if public support over the President –
Speaker Pelosi. We don’t plan on losing the House. We have absolutely no intention of losing. But I do – I’ve been to five states in the last few days talking about the Child Tax Credit. One of them was last Wednesday in Austin, Texas. It had been planned for a long time to talk about the Child Tax Credit. But what happened the night before, of course, had a focus that you mentioned.
And we will – on the first day we get back, we will pass the codification of Roe v. Wade in the House of Representatives. It’s the first time – this is the first time that we have had a pro-choice majority in the House and a Democratic President to sign the bill, which would then go to the Senate to see what they would do.
But again, as a mother of five from a Catholic family, a pro-choice – pro-life family that I came from, I understand. I’m respectful of everybody’s views on this. I had five children in six years and a week. My husband – are thrilled to death. But why should we make that the policy for the every other person in our country? And no Members of Congress, Justice of the Supreme Court or governors of any state should interfere with that decision.
In every other country, it’s not political. In Ireland – what could be a more Catholic country than Ireland? Passed a national referendum to allow this. And, by the way, marriage equality, too. Bravo for Ireland. That’s another challenge that we had.
No, we have no intention. We have great Members. We have a great vision for our country. And our purpose is to get the job done for the American people. The politics will follow.
Staff. Thank you all. Thank you.
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