The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon: “Congress must commit to taking up the bipartisan legislation that would defend the Mueller investigation against partisan attacks.”
(Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) Delivers Weekly Democratic Address)
“Americans expect their elected leaders to set aside partisan division and do what’s right for their country. Congress must commit to taking up the bipartisan legislation that would defend the Mueller investigation against partisan attacks.”
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
No transcript of Senator Wyden’s speech was available at publication time. Hello? Senate Democrats? This is not difficult. Nancy Pelosi provides transcripts with her members’ speeches, attached to the video and also in her newsroom. Do better.
Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Selected passages (full transcript at link).
On the passing of former president George H.W. Bush:
One point that I want to make that I think wasn’t emphasized enough was his leadership on the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, that transformed our nation, is an example to the world, and making our workplaces, our transportation systems, and our voting booths, and other buildings accessible, while reducing discrimination against people with disabilities. It reaffirmed our fundamental truth that we respect people for what they can do and not judge them for what they cannot, and that applies across the board.
Back to business:
We have some unfinished business this week that you may have some questions about. The farm bill, that looks good. As we were leaving the service yesterday, I was pleased to hear what Senator Roberts and Senator Stabenow have to say about that, but we’re hoping that that can be passed maybe next week, we’ll see.
The #MeToo legislation. Back in February, the House unanimously passed the #MeToo Congress bill. Discussions continue, I think we’re finding some common ground, and we would hope that this overdue legislation would be passed before the end of the Congress. We’re making some progress there.
VAWA, we’re in the middle of another short-term Violence Against Women Act, we should be passing a strong, long-term bill. We’d like to do it this Congress, and this – but if not, we’ll have to take it up at the beginning of next year, but we’d rather do it in the Congress in which it was debated and raised in the committee.
As you know, the appropriations bill is the door opener or door closer, or whatever, however – it’s dispositive of when we all go home, and that gives it not only a policy urgency, but a scheduling question. We are, you know, supposed to meet with the President this week, but with the death of our President, now President Bush, that meeting, we’ll meet with the President next week, as we go forward to negotiate that.
And then just one last thing, as you’ve seen in the press, the Senate was briefed on the Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Khashoggi matters, we will have that briefing next week. Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the full Congress. Khashoggi, for a limited classified briefing as same as was done in the Senate.
So, here we are and we get ready – it’s pretty exciting to have won a minimum of 40 seats, and more to come maybe, one more to come maybe, and it is wonderful that we had the biggest midterm vote in the history of our country, and Democrats winning by more than 10 million votes. Quite remarkable.
Our message was For The People, lower health care costs by reducing the cost of prescription drugs, and as you know, pre-existing conditions, that benefit was an important part of that debate. Lower health care costs. Increase paychecks by building infrastructure of America, and in a green way. And third, to restore integrity in government, starting with the important H.R. 1. Some of you were here last week when John Sarbanes, with a number of the freshmen, presented that legislation.
Just to update you on that, we may be moving, separating the Voting Rights Act out of that so that we can move more quickly with H.R. 1, and the Voting Rights Act, we want to establish an ironclad constitutional record when we pass it, which will be soon, but not as soon as moving the Voting Right – the H.R. 1, with the other ways to reduce the role of money in government and increase the voices of the American people.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
From the questioning, the issue of election fraud and the seating of members came up. That exchange:
Q: Are you – do you believe a new election should be called in the 9th District regarding what’s come out in that election? If there’s not a new election, do you think Mr. Harris should be seated as a House Member? I also want to ask you about the allegations – not allegations, but what Congressman-elect Spano in Florida, he has said that – he has admitted to taking illegal loans in his campaign. Do you believe that that should cast out on whether he should be seated as a new Member?
Leader Pelosi. Well, it’s interesting, in North Carolina the authorities – the authoritative body said that they would meet by December 21, it could be tomorrow, but by December 21, to make – to put forth their view of it. What are their options? They could certify the election. They could call for a new election, which would be of the same parties in the general election within 75 days. Or they could just throw the whole thing out and say ‘We’re starting from scratch.’ There are some of the options.
I don’t think the option of a recount is a likely one, as we thought it might have been earlier. But anyway, those are the three versions.
The House still retains the right to decide who is seated. That’s one of the powers of the House of Representatives that controls who can be seated in the Congress. So this – any Member-elect can object to the seating of the swearing-in of another Member-elect, and we’ll see how that goes. As you know, it’s not just the Democrats who have a problem with how it went in North Carolina, the Republicans have a problem, too, because it affected their primary election. The fraud that exists there.
So House Admin will have full – House Administration Committee will have full investigative authority to determine the winner of the election. And, again, only if it’s impossible to determine who the winner is would we take the extraordinary step of calling for a new election, but that governing body can do so. So we’re all in close touch on that, because this is bigger than that one seat.
This is about undermining the integrity of our elections. And what was done there is so remarkable and that that person – those entities got away with that, even to the detriment of the Republicans in the primary. The issue in Florida is one that we’re tracking as well. Then to add insult to injury about what the Republicans did in these races, they are now challenging the seating of our Member in Maine, saying that – questioning the process. But, you know, they have ranked voting, which has been voted on twice by the people of Maine as their method of having an election.
And now the Republicans are saying, well – there’s even a question as to constitutionality of ranked voting, in their view. But if they had won, of course, there would be no question about the constitutionality of it. So we’re operating on three fronts.
The incoming House Democratic majority is already focusing on the issues: jobs, green infrastructure, trade.
San Francisco – Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Department of Labor issued its November jobs statement, reporting disappointing job growth in November:
“November’s jobs report shows an economy straining beneath the weight of a callous GOP special interest agenda that has ransacked the economic security of hard-working families to enrich the already-wealthy.
“In the election, voters delivered a resounding verdict against the Republican Congress’ brutal health care sabotage campaign, massive unpaid-for tax breaks for big banks, Big Pharma and big corporations shipping jobs overseas, and relentless attacks on Medicare and Medicaid. The American people will soon have a House Majority that will serve the public interest, not the special interests.
“Our Democratic Majority is ready to restore openness, bipartisanship and unity to the Congress as we deliver For The People: lower health costs, raise wages by rebuilding America and clean up corruption to make Washington work for everyone.”
Washington, D.C. — Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on Congressional Democrats’ commitment to passing a green infrastructure bill to rebuild America:
“When Democrats take the gavel, we will rebuild America with clean energy, smart technology and resilient infrastructure. We will lead America into future frontiers with bold investments in advanced energy research and efficiency that create good-paying jobs. We will build the green infrastructure of the future with permanent clean energy tax credits that keep up with the rapid pace of technological progress and bring broadband to rural America. And Democrats will act with openness, accountability and unity to hold this Administration accountable for polluting our children’s clean water and clean air.
“I commend Senator Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for his commitment to green infrastructure for the future.”
Washington, D.C. – Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi released this statement following a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in her office:
“U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and I had a constructive conversation today, and I appreciate his visit.
“As I reiterated to USTR Lighthizer, while there are positive things in this proposed trade agreement, it is just a list without real enforcement of the labor and environmental protections. We are also still waiting for Mexico to pass its promised law on the wages and working conditions of Mexican workers competing with American workers.
“Working with our Chairman Richard Neal through the auspices of the Ways & Means Committee, we will be hosting meetings to brief Members on the provisions in the proposal and to hear from various stakeholders as Members make their judgments.”
Additional text on the new agreement from the Thursday press conference:
This bill has good features to it, but they don’t matter at all if you don’t have enforcement. So, enforcement in terms of the labor provision, enforcement in terms of the environmental provision. I think [USTR Lighthizer] full well understands that, that’s our conversation.
Also central to going forward is that Mexico is supposed to pass a bill that would address the wages and working conditions of Mexican workers. We’re not there to exploit workers in Mexico or exploit workers in the United States or in Canada. So, again, that passage of the bill is fundamental to our going forward with that, and that hasn’t happened yet. But this is nothing new. I’ve said this again and again. I said it was a work in progress.
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