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Contact: Nadeam Elshami/
Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference Today
Leader Pelosi. Good morning. As you are aware, yesterday I sent a letter to Speaker Boehner with a clear message: instead of heading home we should stay here in the House and pass the middle'income tax cuts to help restore stability and certainty for America's families, workers, and businesses. Instead of hitting the road, we should pass the transportation bill that creates and saves more than two-million jobs. And instead of going on recess, we should prevent student loan rates from going up and keep college affordable.
Democrats have a simple request to our Republican colleagues: don't run out the clock on the economy. Let's work around the clock to create jobs, promote growth, and restore prosperity for the middle class. We call on the Speaker to cancel next week's recess - this is the ninth week'long recess of the year - and to stay in session to address America's top priorities: jobs, economic growth, and the security of the middle class. The President has put his proposals on the table including passing the transportation bill, which has already passed the
With that I would be pleased to take any questions. Yes, sir?
Q: A number of prominent Democrats have come out in support of temporarily passing all the Bush tax cuts, including [President]
Leader Pelosi. I am not aware that
Q: Leader Pelosi, your
Leader Pelosi. Well, I don't know what these leaks are that you are referencing but I always have concerns about any leaks and what they mean to our national security. The Senator and her colleague, the Chair and Ranking [Member] in the House, will be meeting with the head of national intelligence, the Director of National Intelligence today to better improve the communication between the
I don't know what this, I know that there have been some articles in the press that have raised some concerns but I do not know what the specific reference that you're making as to what Senator Feinstein is talking about, but leaks are not good. What is it they say, "loose lips sink ships?" That was the sign that was up in the Intelligence Committee all the time and our national security depends on our having good intelligence and not having that leaked.
Q: Just to follow up, Senator McCain is saying that he thinks these are politically motivated and thinks that an outside counsel...
Leader Pelosi. With all due respect to Senator McCain, for anybody to stay that a leak, and I don't care party, one way or another, that an intelligence leak is politically motivated is really a sad statement. Of course there shouldn't be leaks. If there is an accidental leak, and by the way, we had an investigation which found that Republican Senators were the source of the leaks many years ago, probably accidentally, unwittingly, but nonetheless they were the source. So to say that an intelligence leak which undermines the national security of our country is something that is politically motivated, I just can't agree with that.
Q: Leader Pelosi, there is a
Leader Pelosi. Well, I'm very proud of the Affordable Care Act. I think that the understanding of it has been jeopardized by misrepresentations that have been put out there relentlessly largely by the industries that have, I shouldn't say not benefited because everybody benefits from this health care bill, but who claim to have suffered from the bill.
Here's the thing: the American Affordable Care Act stands there with
For individuals, the rising cost of health care and the uncertainty of what those costs would be for businesses, the same thing; for governments, whether it is local government, county government, state governments, federal government, unsustainable the rising cost of health care and for our economy, because the cost of health care is a competitiveness issue. And our private sector finds it hard to compete globally with this anvil of ever'increasing uncertain health cost increases.
So it was unsustainable. And what it did was, what it does is take us to a place where we will bend the curve, reduce the cost of health care, not only to the federal government, but to our economy, and to families, that it will improve the quality of care, that it will increase access and will do so in a way that is very innovative about the future, heavy emphasis on prevention and wellness that also reduce costs. The public doesn't generally know that, that children in America, over 80 million people in America have already benefited from the health care bill. Whether it is ending discrimination against children because of a preexisting medical condition, whether it was the wellness prevention, once'a'year checkups that now people, especially our seniors, are getting, whether it is lowering the cost of prescription drugs for seniors by closing the donut hole. And I bet you, if you went to a pharmacy right now and you saw a senior purchasing pharmaceuticals, prescription drugs, and those drugs are cheaper now because of the bill, they would not relate it to the Affordable Care Act.
And so, it's not about the bill, it is about the message of it. And, again, the public was so inoculated against any positive message about the bill because of those who were trying to defeat it that it is a long road back after that.
Q: But this ties into the Democratic side of the message war because it seems to [be] only on one side?
Leader Pelosi. Well, when you have endless money, and money is really a factor in opinion and elections in our country. For example, the other day in
Q: Leader Pelosi, what about the 43 Catholic institutions that have now sued the administration over the regulation that requires them to provide contraceptives, sterilization, abortions in their health care plans and they say that violates their religious freedom. Do you report the
Leader Pelosi. Well, I don't think that is the entire
Q: But do you agree with the
Leader Pelosi. You know what" I do my religion on Sunday in church and I try to go other days of the week. I don't do it at this press conference.
Q: Madam Leader, despite your, and their, protestations, it seems that both Democrats and Republicans are happy to take the tax issue into the general election, but I'm wondering how much you guys are worried, or looking at
Leader Pelosi. Well, I think we should be at the table right now on those issues. I think that we should be at the table right now on what might happen in
But the fact is that we have to be prepared and try to foresee what other possibilities there are out there for better or worse. And I think that we should always be at table to protect the economic security of our country. But I still think that one of the biggest contributors to the deficit in our country is tax cuts, especially at the high-end, where they did not create jobs, and that we said that, the President said that in his campaign two-years-ago because of the depth of the recession that we were in, the President, not two, what is it, a-year-and a half ago, that they would be continued, but they have to come to an end.
Q: On the highway bill, what sort of feedback have you heard about the
Leader Pelosi. There were three questions. You okay with that" This is the last three questions. First of all, let's just say that the transportation bill that has been, that has passed in the
So, what are they afraid of" They are afraid of passing a transportation bill that will create or save more than two-million jobs, that puts hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job" And as you saw by the figures last week, this is the hardest hit industry in last month's job report. So we want, again, the
Why would they not bring it up" You would have to ask Senator Reid why he said what he said but I agree with what he said because I think that the Republicans in the House want to do nothing more than keep having extensions. Maybe they will do something right before the election but it will be too late to create jobs. And if they do the extensions they are using up the trust fund, the transportation, the
So, thank you all very much, again. And see you when we come back. I'm hoping that we stay. The President has put his initiatives on the table over and over again. It would take just 15 minutes to pass the transportation bill putting those people back to work. This is irresponsible, it is immature, and it's unfair for America's workers. Transportation bill, an infrastructure bill, is a bill that not only creates jobs right now to build the infrastructure, it does so in a way that is American'made: it does so in a way that gets people and product to and from market, communication, spreading the word on commerce in our country. It's about our economy in so many different ways, in addition to the jobs it would create immediately.
Thank you all.
Q: Happy anniversary.
Leader Pelosi. Thank you.
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