The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut calling out Senate Republicans for blocking a vote on the background check bill.
“Our colleagues in the House passed a bipartisan background check bill 115 days ago, but instead of calling for a vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has created a do-nothing Senate instead.” —@SenBlumenthal #GunViolenceAwarenessMonth pic.twitter.com/zCnVJ7ggqg
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) June 21, 2019
“Our colleagues in the House passed a bipartisan background check bill 115 days ago, but instead of calling for a vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has created a do-nothing Senate instead.”
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
Transcript can be found in the close captioning at CSPAN.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.
Well, congratulations, congratulations. Do you believe you call yourself the ‘Bad News Babes’?
A strong win over a championship Congressional women’s softball – at the game last night.
I’m very proud of our team, though, from Congress: Democratic women, Republican women, Senators and House Members in unity playing the press. I wasn’t asking for any credentials of some of those, shall we say, younger players. But it was a great game. You did well.
And we all should be very proud that the event raised $365,000 to benefit the Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity, especially geared to young women who are – who are diagnosed with cancer.
And it was always a joy to see the survivors who were there last night. And, we’re very proud of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, our own young survivor, who has been the leader in all of this.
Speaking of health care, we’re very proud that over the weekend, 140 Members of the House Democratic Caucus participated in events across the country, events that were about – town halls, press conferences, online, all the rest – talking about preserving the pre-existing conditions, preserving access to quality, affordable health care.
It was just beautiful to behold the stories that people told about their situations. I had one in the Bay Area with my colleagues Jackie Speier and Mike Thompson, and then in Southern California with Congresswoman Judy Chu.
But Members – again – this was a drumbeat across America, which will continue on the issue – the very important issue to America’s working families: health care. It’s a health issue. It’s also a financial security issue because of the cost of prescription drugs, which we are determined to do something about, hopefully, in a bipartisan way.
But in the meantime, we have to stop the Republican and the President’s assault on the pre-existing condition benefit on the Affordable Care Act. It’s just remarkable that the – the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. It is the responsibility of the Justice Department to defend the law of the land in court. Instead, this Administration has instructed the Justice Department to oppose the law of the land and completely undo the Affordable Care Act, including removing the benefit of pre-existing conditions, lifetime limits on insurance that insurance companies are supposed to provide. The list goes on and on.
Also, now, this week we’re coming toward the end of the appropriation, passing all of our appropriations bills. It is a wonderful process to behold. I’m from the culture of the Appropriations Committee, so I have always said, left to the own devices, the appropriators, Democrats and Republicans working together, can produce good legislation, and they are.
I am trying to defend the number at which they are writing the bills in our conversations with the White House about lifting the caps. And, so that’s where we are on that. We’re hopefully making progress as we come to the end of passing our own bills.
In addition to that, we all know that we want to avoid sequestration, that we want to avoid a continuing resolution, but we have to meet the needs of the American people in a way that is reflected in our appropriations bills.
So, we will almost be finished this week. There might be one for after the Fourth of July – a tribute to Steny Hoyer, who is our Leader on the Floor, who has, in spite of the interventions from the other side for a roll call vote on every amendment, nonetheless tried to stay on schedule with all of this.
And next week we’ll take up a few more bills as well as very important legislation for election security.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the House Administration Committee, whose jurisdiction this bill is, will be putting forth legislation, but it’s only step one. It’s about preventing foreign intervention in our elections. But, also, this particular piece of it is about protecting our electoral system and allocating resources to help states do so.
When we come back, working with many of our Members on other proposals that they have and trying to work in the most bipartisan way possible, we will have other legislation to prevent foreign intervention, including the duty to report rules and sanctions that will be put forth as a warning to countries not to interfere into our elections, especially Russia, and legislation to promote transparency and accountability in the legislation.
This is, again, about the integrity of our elections. Obviously, it’s very clear that the Russians disrupted our elections. There’s no doubt, in terms of the intelligence reporting at the highest confidence level, that that happened and that it continues to happen.
And yet, the President of the United States, who takes an office to protect and defend our Constitution and, therefore, our democracy, is saying that Russian interference in our election, that charge is a hoax, and that, in fact, not only does he call it a hoax and not want to do anything to stop it, he and his comments have given a green light to the Russians to continue to do it. It’s really quite stunning.
So, there we are. We have the Leader in the Senate, the ‘Grim Reaper’, still saying he’s going to stop any legislation that goes over there. I hope that he will honor his oath of office by helping to protect our democracy by protecting the integrity of our elections.
So, this is the day we welcome Prime Minister Trudeau to the Capitol, as it turns out, in timely fashion for me to – what would be the word? Pay off my debt, the bet, is that –
Speaker Pelosi. Oh, settle, okay. Settle the debt with beautiful California chocolate, California almonds – that’s how we say it in California, almonds – California walnuts, California pistachios, California wine – that we get back to the chocolates because we’ll have more than one variety. And to do so, congratulating the Raptors, but also saying that they won against mighty champs, the San Francisco – the Golden State Warriors, soon to come to reside in San Francisco.
And today at three o’clock the women play Sweden, isn’t that exciting, in soccer. At that time, I will be settling the debt, at three o’clock, at a press event with the Prime Minister. We’ll talk about other things, including trade, I’m sure, but we have to settle up first.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
June 21, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered joined Members of the House and Senate for a gun violence prevention day of action press event. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Senator Murphy, for your courageous leadership on this issue. You have been a wonderful, wonderful, not only spokesperson, but hero to all of us who care so much about the toll that gun violence takes in our country every day. An honor for us to be with so many members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. You will be hearing from some of them shortly.
I just want to again welcome Gabby Giffords back to the House of Representatives – a political, I hope, home for her, where she is always welcome. It makes such a tremendous difference because with her as an inspiration we were able to – H.R. 8, so named because it was eight years since the Tucson tragedy, and actually January 8th when it all took place. So, this number is fraught with meaning for us, and numbers are what this is about.
George Bernard Shaw once said the sign of a truly intelligent person is that he or she was swayed by statistics. And here are the numbers – I will reiterate some of what Senator Murphy said and what is demonstrated behind us.
Every year, nearly 40,000 people die from gun violence.
Every day 47 teenagers – some younger than that, children – are killed by guns. Every day.
More than 90 percent of the American people want background checks.
And since Senator McConnell refused to take up H.R. 8, 11,400 people have died from gun violence – nearly 4,000 murders.
Senator McConnell calls himself the ‘Grim Reaper.’ We cannot accept that. This bill is alive and well among the American people, as I said now nearly 90 percent support: Democrats, Republicans, nonpartisan, independents et cetera. The American people want us to be safer, to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. The Senate has the key. Give us a vote. Give us a vote. We are not going away until we get this, until the job is done.
The House passed another bill that will go to Mitch McConnell’s graveyard – the Taxpayers First Act. Speaker Pelosi at the bill enrollment ceremony (lightly edited for clarity):
Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats and Republicans for a bill enrollment ceremony for H.R. 3151 the Taxpayer First Act.
Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. I’m very happy this morning to come together in a bipartisan way – a shining example of working together, having hearings, making decisions on behalf of the American people. This legislation helps lower income people who will be able to get assistance in putting together their tax returns. It also protects them from debt collectors and also includes important legislation, steps to identify identity theft and some modernization initiatives for the Internal Revenue Service, so underserved communities, people with disabilities, are very well-served.
The House is watching the Iran confrontation closely and demanding that any military action be approved by Congress.
We are in an extremely dangerous & sensitive situation with Iran. We must calibrate a response that de-escalates & advances American interests—and be clear what those interests are.
Hostilities must not be initiated without the approval of Congress. https://t.co/8cRcWA8SLH
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) June 21, 2019