Fighting Back: “We need to return the power back to the American people”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Andy Kim from New Jersey speaking about H.R.1 – the For The People Act – an historic reform package to restore the promise of our nation’s democracy and return the power to the people.

(Congressman Andy Kim of New Jersey delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, the Congressman highlighted the passage of H.R.1, the For The People Act, an historic reform package to restore the promise of our nation’s democracy, end the culture of corruption in Washington, and reduce the role of money in politics to return the power back to the American people.)

“Our nation needs a government of service.

“It was this sense of service that founded our nation and built the extraordinary institutions of democracy that we have been entrusted to protect. That is the oath that we swore.

“But as we look at the stagnation and gridlock, we must be honest with ourselves that these institutions have been weakened. That we do not have the quality of public service that the American people deserve.

“The tide of dark money and special interests eroded our pillars and caused many in this country, my neighbors included, to feel that our government is no longer focused on serving the people. […]

A government for the people requires a government of the people.

“We must help more Americans to participate in their democracy. We need to work to remove barriers to voting, encourage more Americans to step up and run for office, urge them to vote and to engage with their elected representatives.

“We need to stop gerrymandering from diluting the voice of the people, to make our system fairer and more just.

We need a government the understands that the core unit of our democracy is the citizen, not the dollar sign.

“H.R. 1 represents a bold effort to do just that.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Andy Kim Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“My name is Andy Kim, and I represent New Jersey’s 3rd District.

“I have dedicated my life to serving this nation, as a national security adviser in Afghanistan to the White House working under both Republicans and Democrats.

“As a son of immigrants who never worked in partisan politics before, I never would I have imagined that I would serve in Congress.

“I was chosen by my neighbors in New Jersey to serve them. They asked me to restore a sense of civility and public service back into our government. To recraft a government that will work for the people with substance and integrity.

“It is for these reasons that I co-sponsored and voted for H.R. 1 – the For the People Act that seeks to heal our democracy.

“We see with our own eyes the challenges before us. The problems we face as a nation are great. The solutions we seek are complicated.

“In my time here in Congress so far, I certainly see that the divisions here are real and run deep to the bone, but I have also seen the genuine passion that so many people on both sides of the aisle have for service.

“To me, that is what the For the People Act is about – and that is why I voted for it.

“Our nation needs a government of service.

“It was this sense of service that founded our nation and built the extraordinary institutions of democracy that we have been entrusted to protect. That is the oath that we swore.

“But as we look at the stagnation and gridlock, we must be honest with ourselves that these institutions have been weakened. That we do not have the quality of public service that the American people deserve.

“The tide of dark money and special interests eroded our pillars and caused many in this country, my neighbors included, to feel that our government is no longer focused on serving the people.

“I felt that too. As a father to two baby boys I worry about what kind of world they will inherit, and I want to do everything humanly possible to give them one worthy of their joy and love.

“We cannot deliver for our children if we don’t heal the problems we face and create a government that can deliver what the people need.

“A government for the people requires a government of the people.

“We must help more Americans to participate in their democracy. We need to work to remove barriers to voting, encourage more Americans to step up and run for office, urge them to vote and to engage with their elected representatives.

“We need to stop gerrymandering from diluting the voice of the people, to make our system fairer and more just.

“We need a government the understands that the core unit of our democracy is the citizen, not the dollar sign.

“H.R. 1 represents a bold effort to do just that.

“Just because we passed H.R. 1 through the House, does not mean the work is done.

“We go into this with our eyes wide open, fully aware of the challenges ahead.

“But I am encouraged when I think of the hundreds of people that showed up at my last town hall.

“I told my constituents that they are my bosses, whether they voted for me or not, and I will serve them all with every fiber of my body for as long as they give me the honor of representing them.

“It is a reminder that when we show up for the people – Democrats and Republicans – instead of dark money donors, our government can work at its best.

“H.R. 1 reminds us that our democracy doesn’t exist just here in Washington. It exists with each and every one of us.

“H.R. 1 reminds us that our democracy can never be taken for granted. But that working together we can guide it and work to create a more perfect, representative union.

“And H.R. 1 reminds us that this extraordinary energy in our nation provides a new baseline of civil engagement that will foster a new era of public service.

“That is what we seek. That is what we want. That is what we need.

“We have a precious chance to seize the change we were sent here to make and restore faith in our democracy.

“The time is now to act.

“I call on the Senate to take up this bill and deliver what the American people deserve.

“Thank you.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. Good morning.

Thank you for accommodating our little bit of a later schedule this morning.

We’re very excited this week to be having H.R. 1 debated on the Floor. Tomorrow it will pass and we’ll send it onto the Senate, with all of the mobilization the outside can provide for cleaner government. This is H.R. 1, a priority for our Freshman Class. They’ll be on the steps of the Capitol tomorrow to proclaim their support for it.

This is essential to our For The People agenda: lower health care costs by lowering the cost of prescription drugs and preserving the pre-existing condition benefit – lower health care costs. Bigger paychecks by building infrastructure of America in a green, modern way for the 21st Century.

But, the public belief that we can do that depends on our passing legislation to amplify the voices of the American people and reduce the voice of dark, special interest money that has influenced decisions in Congress before.

It is also, H.R. 1, about ending voter suppression. What are some people afraid of when people have a right to vote? It contains John Lewis’s language – fighting voter suppression. It also contains a path to H.R. 4, which is to restore the Voting Rights Act to its fullest efficacy, as it was pushed back by the Supreme Court.

And it also is a way to empower small donors over big donors, so that the public, again, knows that everyone’s voice is as important as anyone else’s voice.

Again, it was a confidence – it is about confidence. It is about ending skepticism.

I said in Texas a couple days ago in such a town meeting, on the subject of H.R. 1 and how it related to voter suppression, that when we talk about voter suppression, we largely talk about reducing the hours that polling is available, the number of polling places, the number of days. It is about time and location, et cetera, in certain areas where polling places are closed.

But, one of the big suppressors of the vote is the suffocation of the airways by big, dark money, misleading the public – not telling the truth about what is at stake in the election. And, the public throws up their hands and then just decides not to vote. So, this is about honoring our democracy.

We said we were going to do it as we have proceeded, building on what we talked about last week. The committees continue to have – introduce bills, have hearings on bills to lower the cost of prescription drugs and protect the Affordable Care Act, continue to have hearings on how we proceed on infrastructure, and H.R. 1 will be on the Floor today.

We also said we were going to pass legislation to advance commonsense gun violence prevention, and we did last week with H.R. 8. Next week, we’ll be launching our Equality Act to end discrimination for the LGBTQ community, and we will also be launching our initiative to protect the Dreamers and the Temporary Protected Status persons in our country.

One more bill before the end of the month will be – well, two more. One will be equal pay for equal work, which comes back to our original lower – increase paycheck – lower health care costs and increased paychecks. And we will be on a path to pass, once again, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

So, we said these things during the campaign, and we are getting it done, and we are telling the public about the paths that we are on to get them turned into law to make a difference in the lives of the American people.

I was proud to send to the Senate and, therefore, to the President, the Land and Water Conservation bill, named for John Dingell, the other day.

So, while so much else is swirling around here in terms of investigations, the Mueller investigation, the fundamental responsibility of the Congress to have oversight over the executive branch and other items, we are doing our housekeeping as we keep proceeding with legislation for the good of the American people.

I was particularly happy this week that we were joined by four Senators who had been former Members of the House, Senator – Leader Chuck Schumer, Maria Cantwell, Ron Wyden and Ed Markey. They joined us to launch our net neutrality legislation led by Mike Doyle, Chair of the Technology Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, along with other Members of the committee, including Chairman Pallone. Anna Eshoo is the godmother of that legislation. She, too, joined us. So, we’re busy with our legislative work, despite what we might read in the press.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Press Event Ahead of Passage of H.R. 1, The For The People Act

Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats for a press event on the steps of the Capitol ahead of the passage of H.R. 1, the For The People Act, an historic reform package to restore the promise of our nation’s democracy, end the culture of corruption in Washington and reduce the role of money in politics to return the power back to the American people. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi. It is my honor to stand in for Joe Neguse.

[Laughter]

I thank all of our freshmen, every single one of them, for the message they delivered on the campaign trail, for the determination they have brought to the Congress of the United States. We are so excited today, as I think you can detect, on this cold day on the outside, we will go to the inside where the political climate will be much warmer for the American people because of the action we will take today.

We are thrilled to be here again on the steps of the Capitol, waving our flags, with this outstanding freshman class in a show of great unity. When our freshman took their oath, they made a difference, ensuring the priorities of their communities would be the priorities of the Congress.

Now, today, we are honoring the people’s trust as we pass our transformative H.R. 1, the For The People [Act]. Excuse me. H.R. 1 restores the people’s faith that government works in the public’s interest, the people’s interest, not the special interests. That faith, that confidence is a treasure that is fundamental to a democracy – that people believe – they believe that the actions taken here will be in their interest.

That is what this legislation will help to restore. It ends the dominance of big, dark, special interest money in politics and it empowers small donors and the grassroots. It ensures clean, fair elections and fights voter suppression. It cleans up corruption, returning integrity to Washington, DC.

Let us be very clear: this is a fight that we are taking a vote on today, but it is a fight that we will not end until we win it because it is a very fight for the Constitution. It honors the vision of our Founders, gives hope to the American people that their interests are served – and so – when we break the grip of special interests and put the power back in the hands of the people.

Let me salute our colleague John Lewis who we will hear from on the Floor shortly for the fight that he made for expanding the opportunities for voting in our country. We are all in his debt. But not only the fight he made then, sacrifices he and so many others made, but also the brilliance that he has brought to this legislation in the form of provisions that would end voter suppression which exists in our country so sadly.

And let us thank John Sarbanes. He had a vision. He had a vision.

[Applause]

He has a vision that honors, again, the vision of our Founders about a democracy. He knows his subject very well and therefore had a plan. A strategic plan to take us to today and here. In the course of the campaigns, the freshmen connected with the American people who told them that they wanted their voices to be heard. What great messengers, our freshman class, great messengers they are!

To the Congress, For The People! So this is, in our view, a historic day, a pivotal day, a day that will make a difference as we go forward. And to those, as Congressman Phillips said, ‘Yes, it is a power grab: a power grab on behalf of the people!’ But let us look to the Senate, and say, ‘When we pass this bill, it’s not just what happens on this Floor, it’s the message it sends to the American people.’

Our inside maneuvering will have succeeded today because of the outside mobilization of the American people, For The People. So the Senate, as you receive this bill, you will also be receiving the aspirations, the mobilizations, the persistence, the relentlessness of the American people to have government work for them, For The People.

This is a fight we’re engaged in, we’re not going to end until we win, and we can save a lot of time by the Senate just agreeing to the For The People agenda.

Let’s hear it for the freshman class and all of the difference they are making For The People.

Has our friend Joe Neguse gotten here? Well, Joe Neguse – we’ll hear from him on the Floor of the House.

So many voices from the freshman class, it’s pretty exciting. Let’s go down to the Floor, take the vote, send it to the Senate, hopefully to have a path to the President’s desk.

Again, For The People. Let us wave our flags.

Thank you all very much.

~

Pelosi Statement on February Jobs Report

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Department of Labor issued its February jobs statement, which showed that the economy created just 20,000 jobs:

“February’s abysmal jobs numbers are a stark warning from an economy being hollowed out by the GOP’s devastating special interest agenda.

Years of Republican giveaways to big corporations and the wealthiest few have jeopardized the financial security of working families. Jobs and household wealth are faltering. Despite the President’s promises, our nation faces a historic trade deficit. And the future of America’s middle class is burdened by a tax scam that has driven up record budget deficits in order to enrich Big Pharma, big banks, big corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent.

“As Republicans continue to push their failed policies, House Democrats are working For The People to lower health care costs and the price of prescription drugs, raise wages by rebuilding America with green, modern and job-creating infrastructure and restore integrity to Washington. Today, we are passing H.R. 1: The For The People Act to restore the people’s confidence that government works for the public interest, not the special interests by reducing the role of big dark money in politics, advancing clean and fair elections, and cleaning up corruption in Washington. With this historic legislation, we will put the power back in the hands of the people and lay the foundation to make transformative progress For The People – delivering results on the issues that matter in their lives.

~

  13 comments for “Fighting Back: “We need to return the power back to the American people”

  1. JanF
    March 9, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Pelosi Statement on International Women’s Day

    Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement in recognition of International Women’s Day:

    “On International Women’s Day we celebrate the immeasurable contributions of women and girls around the world, whose vision, values and voices enrich our lives and empower our communities. Each year, we also recognize the countless women in every corner of the globe for whom the full promise of equality, freedom and justice remains unfulfilled.

    “Today, women everywhere are standing up, speaking out and demanding their full and rightful place in our societies. These brave women are fighting for economic justice, a fair and equal wage, and access to a quality education. They are fighting to shine the light of truth on the horrors of sexual violence and exploitation, and to ensure that no woman is forced to live in fear or pain. And they are fighting to advance progress for women at every level of society, from government to industry and beyond. We must ensure that these women have more than just our support, but the resources necessary to succeed in achieving these critical goals.

    “As we prepare to mark 100 years since American women won the right to vote, we recommit to expanding this sacred right to women in every part of the world, to ensure that the voices of women are heard fully and fairly. We will never retreat from our solemn duty to build on the successes of the past in order to build a future of equality and opportunity for all.”

  2. JanF
    March 9, 2019 at 10:55 am

    H.R. 1 in the News:

    House passes sweeping voting rights, electoral reform bill

    House Democrats passed expansive legislation Friday aimed at increasing ballot access, including making Election Day a federal holiday, as well provisions for publicly financing elections and requiring presidents to release their tax returns.

    The bill, known as HR 1, passed by a vote of 234-193 Friday. It has been a top priority for Democrats since the party took back the House in November, following an election marked in large part by voting rights issues, including Stacey Abrams’ refusal to concede in the Georgia gubernatorial election and the passage of Amendment 4 in Florida, which re-enfranchised 1.4 million formerly incarcerated people.

    While many of the individual provisions have been considered in previous bills, progressive voting rights and electoral reform legislation has been essentially nonexistent since Democrats lost the House eight years ago, and the party has made HR 1 their top priority since taking back the chamber.

    ~

    House Passes Extensive Election And Campaign Finance Overhaul Bill

    The House passed an extensive bill Friday that would overhaul the way Americans vote and take aim at the money currently flowing through the U.S. political system.

    The bill was dubbed the “For The People Act” by House Democrats who want election accessibility and weeding out corruption to be core tenets of their majority agenda the next two years. The bill passed along straight party lines, 234-193.

    “For months, for years, really for decades, millions of Americans have been looking at Washington and feeling like they’ve been left behind,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., the lead author of the bill. “Too many Americans have faced this challenge where getting to the ballot box every two years is like getting through an obstacle course.”

    House Democrats gathered on the Capitol steps moments before the vote to celebrate the impending passage.

    The more than 500-page bill would require all states to offer automatic voter registration, make Election Day a federal holiday, and institute independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional districts as a way to end partisan gerrymandering. […]

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Democrats wouldn’t be deterred by Republicans’ unwillingness to take up the bill in the Senate.

    “[The bill] restores the people’s faith that government works for the people’s interest, not the special interests,” Pelosi said. “Let us be very clear, this is a fight we are taking a vote on today but it is a fight we will not end until we win it.”

  3. JanF
    March 9, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Speaker Pelosi on Rep. Omar (from the Thursday presser) and the careful use of language:

    I understand how advocates come in with their enthusiasms, but when you cross that threshold into Congress, your words weigh much more than when you’re shouting it at somebody outside. And I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude, but that she didn’t have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people where these words have a history and a cultural impact that might have been unknown to her.

  4. bfitzinAR
    March 9, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    I can’t think of better evidence (as if we shouldn’t have learned this in W’s mal-administration) that we have to have control of Congress – both houses – to really accomplish anything. Her last time holding the gavel Nancy Pelosi pushed through some 400 pieces of liberal/progressive legislation to have all but 14 or so die in the Senate. sigh.

  5. JanF
    March 9, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    This does my heart good.

  6. March 11, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for this, Jan! Congressman Kim is impressive, I’m glad to get a chance to know him. And of course, Pelosi is one of my heras (I prefer the Greek feminine form of “hero” to “sheroe.”)

    The massive destruction of our democracy is one that will take a long time to remedy. Still, we must try.

    • JanF
      March 11, 2019 at 3:26 pm

      Andy Kim is the guy who took out the ghastly Tom MacArthur, the man who put the repeal of pre-existing conditions into TrumpCare in order to make it mean enough to attract Freedom Caucus support. I hope NJ03 has gone blue enough for him to keep this seat for a while.

  7. JanF
    March 12, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Nancy Pelosi sat for a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post last Wednesday. The headline on the piece that came out yesterday was click-bait about impeachment (“Nancy Pelosi on Impeaching Trump: ‘He’s Just Not Worth It’”) but there is a lot of really good stuff in it about her vision and about the Democratic Party. At one point she was asked about how difficult it is keeping the caucus together and she said something that is huge:

    Q: Is it harder to manage the demands of the more-centrist members who are going to face tougher reelections, or the more-progressive members who maybe feel a freedom to push a little more?

    Speaker Pelosi: Understand this: There are a range of views in our caucus, and we respect that. But we are unified. People compliment me and they say, “Oh, you know, you can keep them all together.” I don’t. Our values unify us. And all of us, wherever we are, here or there, are all of one mind that we are here for America’s working families to lower their costs, to raise their paycheck and give them more-honest government in a country where we have gun safety and respect for every person in our society. So there is no management of this. It’s the vitality. We invite it. We’re not trying to curtail it. We’re excited by it.

    “Our Values Unify Us” – so true and so important to remember as we enter the primary season. We are united by Democratic Party Values and as long as the test is “does this help people?” we will be fine.

    • JanF
      March 12, 2019 at 10:10 am

      On tRump’s fitness:

      Q: You said earlier you don’t feel it’s worth it to pursue impeachment. Do you believe he’s fit to be president?

      Are we talking ethically? Intellectually? Politically? What are we talking here?

      Q: All —

      All of the above. No. No. I don’t think he is. I mean, ethically unfit. Intellectually unfit. Curiosity-wise unfit. No, I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States. And that’s up to us to make the contrast to show that this president — while he may be appealing to you on your insecurity and therefore your xenophobia, whether it’s globalization or immigrants — is fighting clean air for your children to breathe, clean water for them to drink, food safety, every good thing that we should be doing that people can’t do for themselves. You know, I have five kids, and I think I can do everything for them, but I can’t control the air they breathe, the water that they drink. You depend on the public sector to do certain things for the health and well-being of your family, and he is counter to that.

      But again, this is coming across too negatively. I don’t usually talk about him this much. This is the most I’ve probably talked about him. I hardly ever talk about him. You know, it’s not about him. It’s about what we can do for the people to lower health-care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government.

    • JanF
      March 12, 2019 at 10:12 am

      On giving up chocolate for Lent!

      Q: [Your daughter Alexandra] said in an interview: “She knows what she’s doing. And that should make you sleep at night, knowing that at least somebody in this town knows what they’re doing.” I want to ask: How well do you sleep at night?

      It depends on how much chocolate I have eaten during the day. Now today I gave up chocolate for lunch — I mean for Lent. [Laughs.] It really was more for lunch because I’m off it already. I had a doughnut for breakfast. I totally forgot till I went to get the ashes that I wasn’t supposed to have that chocolate doughnut for breakfast. Then, once I had the doughnut, I thought I might as well have the chocolate ice cream for lunch. Then my colleague came from Guam and brought chocolate chip cookies. What am I supposed to do? And out of kindness to my colleagues, to my staff and to my families, I don’t think giving up chocolate for Lent is going to work.

      • DoReMI
        March 12, 2019 at 11:37 am

        A woman after my own [chocolate] heart! I haven’t given anything up for Lent in years and years; it’s just not a huge part of the Methodist tradition. Come to think of it, I’m not sure it’s part of the tradition at all. I think it’s more of a cultural thing learned from the Catholics. But if I did give up anything for Lent, my progress would follow the same trajectory as Speaker Pelosi’s!

      • bfitzinAR
        March 12, 2019 at 12:22 pm

        I love how Nancy Pelosi handles the press. Especially when they’re asking stupid or “gotcha” questions.

        • JanF
          March 13, 2019 at 7:22 am

          She is brilliant. I see also that after a day of hair on fire, the headlines have settled into what she was actually calling for – a “wait-and-see” approach to impeachment.

Comments are closed.