Source: United States Senator for Wisconsin Paul Ryan
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Alisyn Camerota on CNN’s New Day for an interview to discuss the ongoing efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including the urgent need for oversight from the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the recently passed interim emergency funding package transformed by Congressional Democrats to provide critical support for small businesses, hospitals, health care workers and a national testing strategy. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Alisyn Camerota. Breaking news, more than 30 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last six weeks. The coronavirus pandemic is creating an economic crisis in the U.S. Joining us now to talk about this and more is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Good morning, Madam Speaker.
That was the breaking news we had moments ago. And, of course, these are jaw-dropping numbers: 30 million Americans in the past six weeks, 18.6 percent of the U.S. workforce has now filed for unemployment. I mean, so that’s basically the unemployment rate. What – when you hear the numbers, when do you think that those numbers of jobless people will start going down instead of up every week?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, if I knew that, that would be a great thing if any of us knew that. But the fact is, we have to do everything in our power to make a path for that to happen. I, myself, think that the path to our re-entering the economy is testing, testing, testing. It all comes back to science and the health and well-being of the American people.
So, we’re talking about people’s lives, and the jaw-dropping figure of over 60,000 Americans already lost their lives to this, to the coronavirus. And now we have these numbers, which are only increasing by the week.
Hopefully if we have – I believe that we have to have a path that is about testing, so that there is confidence for people, when certain opportunities open up, are there, that they have the confidence that they can join the workforce because other people there have been tested as well. You cannot – you cannot turn the economy around without the scientific leadership on it. And, again, testing, testing, testing, contact tracing, isolation, treatment and the rest, so that people will go forward.
Because God bless the American people, this is about workers and their families. And, if you want to go into the workforce and take a risk, and then bring that home to your family, you have to think many times over about that.
Alisyn Camerota. I also want to ask you about states and about the federal aid. You can call it federal aid, you can call it a bailout, whatever you want, but what the governors say they need. And, as you know, a week ago, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell basically suggested his preference for – to allow some states to go bankrupt over bailing them out.
Let me just quickly quote him. He said, ‘We’re not interested in solving their pension problems for them. We’re not interested in rescuing them from bad decisions they’ve made in the past.’ It sounds like he has softened his rhetoric since then. So, are states going to get federal money?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes, indeed. Let me just say that what the distinguished Leader said was an excuse, not a reason to do something.
Everything we had done in the four bills that we have passed, all of which had been strongly bipartisan and I’m very proud of that, has been about the coronavirus. It is not about one thing or another, it is about the coronavirus. So, when we’re looking at the states and municipalities and counties, and the assistance that we would give them, we’re looking at what are your outlays for the coronavirus and what is your revenue lost because of the coronavirus?
It has nothing to do with anything that went before, same thing with the hospitals. It is about what have you spent on the coronavirus and what have you lost on the coronavirus. All of that.
So, when he says that he references Illinois, all the troubles in Illinois came by a Republican governor. He’s making it look like there is some blue state, red state thing here that we’re bailing – has nothing to do with any other issues of the budget of any state. It only has to do with the coronavirus.
And the governors are united, Democrats and Republicans. The mayors are united, Democrats and Republicans. Everybody is united in saying, ‘In order for us to survive, we need to have these resources,’ and they will.
Alisyn Camerota. And how much money will they get? Governors want $500 million.
Speaker Pelosi. Billion.
Alisyn Camerota. Thank you. So, I mean, I’m talking about the national governors–
Speaker Pelosi. We could do that in a second.
Alisyn Camerota. I mean, ‘M, B, T.’ We’re also talking a trillion. But, I mean the [National] Governors Association, that’s the figure they have used. So, what figure are you using?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, I’m looking to them for the assessment they have about the expenses that relate to outlays for coronavirus and revenue lost. We’re not going to be able to cover all of it, but we’ll be able to enable them to have sustainability.
But understand this, that $500 billion, should that be the number, is not for one year. That’s more like three years, over a three-year period. And then the same thing with state and local – excuse me, municipalities and counties. We want to have a separate account for them because many of them don’t get – get what they need from the state. Sometimes the governors are not inclined to do that. Other times they are just fiscally unable to do it. And so, we want to have separate direct support for townships, even as low as 50,000 and below. And this is a very big change.
But, again, coronavirus revenue lost. And we’re waiting for their figure. It is approaching $500 billion too. But, again, over a period of at least three, perhaps four years. But, again, we want it to be based on the numbers and very clearly relate to revenue lost and expenditures made.
Alisyn Camerota. Okay, good to know.
You have set up a coronavirus oversight panel to figure out how these trillions of dollars will be spent. Your Republican colleagues seem wary of this panel. They think it is a set-up of some kind, ‘impeachment 2.0,’ some called it. Are there any Republicans on the Committee? What do you say to them to assuage their fears about this?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, the appointments that I made to the Committee are, I think, create a chemistry of working in a bipartisan way. Our distinguished Chairman, Mr. Clyburn, has a record in his state of South Carolina of doing these oversight kind of activities under Democratic and Republican governors to much acclaim.
This is about waste, fraud, abuse, profiteering, price gouging. Where there is money, there is mischief. There’s just no question about it. And, again, as we review all of that, to take us to where you began this conversation, how do we get to a place to open up the economy to, again, save lives, but also save livelihoods as we go forward.
I’m very proud of it. It is modeled after something Harry Truman did when he was a Senator at the beginning of World War II. He said, ‘In World War I, they had six – 116 committees after the fact, after the war, to examine how the money was spent.’ He said, ‘I think I’d like to have one during the war, as we go forward, and it will save lives and save money,’ and it did indeed do both.
So, it is modeled on – and that was under a Democratic president, at the time. So, it wasn’t about the Administration. It was about, we don’t want people that – we have examples of people trying to sell masks that they don’t have, trying to abscond with the checks of people who are waiting to receive their payment.
Alisyn Camerota. Corruption, yes, understood.
Speaker, I also want to ask you about Former Vice President Joe Biden and about this allegation that is being made by one of his former Senate staffers. Do you think that it is time for Vice President Biden to address this head on, himself?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, I have great sympathy for any women who bring forth an allegation. And I’m a big, strong supporter of the Me Too movement. I think it has been a great – made a great contribution to our country.
And I do support Joe Biden. I’m satisfied with how he has responded. I know him. I was proud to endorse him on Monday, very proud to endorse him. And so, I’m satisfied with that.
Alisyn Camerota. I mean, he hasn’t, to be clear, he hasn’t addressed it. His campaign has addressed it, but he has not directly addressed it. Should he directly, publicly address it?
Speaker Pelosi. You know, it is a matter that he has to deal with. But I am impressed with the people who worked for him at the time saying that they absolutely never heard one iota of information about this. Nobody ever brought forth a claim or had anybody else tell them about such a claim.
But, again, we have an important election at hand, one that is, I think, one of the most important ones we had. We say that every election, but I think this is the most crucial and I supported him because he’s a person of great values, integrity, authenticity, imagination and connection to the American people.
He understands the kitchen table issues of America’s working families. His father lost his job when he was a boy. He knows what that feels like for a family, how they’re going to pay their bills, their health bills, the education of their children, supporting seniors and their families and the rest.
It just – he’s the personification of hope and optimism for our country. And I was proud to endorse him. America needs a person like Joe Biden with his, again, his integrity and his vision for the future.
Alisyn Camerota. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, we really appreciate you being here on New Day. Thank you for your time.
Speaker Pelosi. My pleasure. And thank you for what you’re doing to tell the story of this. That information is so very, very important.
Alisyn Camerota. Thank you.