The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) discussing the Heroes Act and the need to help local governments including tribal governments who are particularly hard hit by the disastrous incompetence of the Trump Administration.
(Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, the Congresswoman discussed H.R. 6800, The Heroes Act, urgently-needed legislation to address the unprecedented coronavirus health and economic crisis.)
The Trump Administration’s failed response to this coronavirus emergency has caused heartbreak and economic stress for families across our country and have laid bare the disparities that already exist in so many communities.
In particular, Indian Country has been hit very hard by this pandemic. Imagine getting sick and having to drive three hours just to see a doctor or to get to a phone. Imagine not having running water or electricity or public transportation.[…]
The Heroes Act provides economic stability, so we can begin the long road to economic recovery: $1,200 direct payments; hazard pay for essential workers; investments in broadband to help close the homework gap for kids; small business loans and grants that will reach underserved communities; and funds for testing, tracing and treatment of this virus.
We know state and local governments are stretched thin. That’s why we worked hard to include flexible funding so firefighters can stay on the job, police officers won’t get furloughed and the services that cities provide will remain intact. […]
The Heroes Act will also help address many of the disparities in Indian Country by providing $20 billion for Tribal governments, addressing Tribal business concerns on the Paycheck Protection Program loans and boosting funds for many Indian Health Service programs, including Urban Indian Health Centers.
When I vote for The Heroes Act, I will vote for all of our families and all our essential workers.
Note: The Heroes Act passed on Friday, May 15th in the U.S. House of Representatives. It will be sent to Senator Mitch McConnell, the self-identified “Grim Reaper”, where he will do what he does best – set the bill aside and ignore the needs of the American people in service to his donors and his sociopathic president.
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
“Hi, everyone, I’m Deb Haaland, Representative for New Mexico’s First Congressional District and proud member of the Pueblo of Laguna.
“I’m honored to be one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in our country’s history. I’m like so many Americans. I’m a single mom and a proud daughter of veterans. My dad served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 30 years and my mother in the Navy.
“I understand the struggles that many people face, and I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to help our families to find success.
“House Democrats will act boldly to pass The Heroes Act, a bill that meets the challenge our country is now facing and at the level it demands.
“Families in New Mexico are sharing with me their concerns, fears and struggles, and like many Americans, they are afraid of losing their homes and businesses, struggling to buy food and to afford life-saving medication.
“I know what it’s like to care for a child on a limited income and to worry for an elderly parent who is in a senior living community.
“The Trump Administration’s failed response to this coronavirus emergency has caused heartbreak and economic stress for families across our country and have laid bare the disparities that already exist in so many communities.
“In particular, Indian Country has been hit very hard by this pandemic. Imagine getting sick and having to drive three hours just to see a doctor or to get to a phone. Imagine not having running water or electricity or public transportation.
“Sadly, two sisters on the Navajo Nation didn’t get the coronavirus treatment they needed in time, and they died. Their young sons will live without their mothers.
“Heroes come in all forms. They’re hospital workers, grocery clerks, teachers, letter carriers and people who stay home to take care of their elders and protect their communities.
“The Heroes Act provides economic stability, so we can begin the long road to economic recovery: $1,200 direct payments; hazard pay for essential workers; investments in broadband to help close the homework gap for kids; small business loans and grants that will reach underserved communities; and funds for testing, tracing and treatment of this virus.
“We know state and local governments are stretched thin. That’s why we worked hard to include flexible funding so firefighters can stay on the job, police officers won’t get furloughed and the services that cities provide will remain intact.
“As this pandemic impacts our democracy, we’re helping states make mail-in voting available to all voters, keeping the Postal Service open so every voter has access to the ballot box, boosting funding for the Census and delaying the Census deadline.
“A dad in my district called me when his son who serves in the military got stuck paying two sets of bills when the Defense Department halted personnel movements. The Heroes Act includes provisions that I fought for to help military families with the financial burdens caused by this pandemic.
“The Heroes Act will also help address many of the disparities in Indian Country by providing $20 billion for Tribal governments, addressing Tribal business concerns on the Paycheck Protection Program loans and boosting funds for many Indian Health Service programs, including Urban Indian Health Centers.
“When I vote for The Heroes Act, I will vote for all of our families and all our essential workers.
“House Democrats will continue fighting for all families, workers and small businesses throughout this uncertain time, and we call on the United States Senate to do the same and to pass The Heroes Act. Thank you, for your support of The Heroes Act.”
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 afternoon, everyone.
Thank you for being here. Here we are in kind of a new arena, so thank you.
I hope you’re all – now when I call my colleagues, I say, how are you? That used to be sort of a turn of phrase, and now it is a question: How are you? If you’re well, come here for Friday. If you’re not, stay home. Thanks for not sharing.
This is really quite an exciting time for us because we have a monumental need for our country at this sad time. You know the figures. You know the 85,000 people tragically dead. Nearly 1.4 million people infected. More than 36 million people have lost their jobs and filing for unemployment.
Yesterday, the Chairman of the Fed, Chairman Powell, estimated – he stated the need for Congress to act immediately and pass further economic relief. In his words, he said: Additional relief – additional fiscal support should be – could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long term economic damage and leaves us with stronger – leaves us with a stronger recovery. That’s our hope. This tradeoff is one for our elected representatives who wield powers of taxation and spending. Chairman Powell of the Federal Reserve Bank.
Also, representatives calling for urgent action are the representatives of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. And this morning, as you probably have seen, Dr. Rick Bright testified at the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee warning that next winter will be the ‘darkest winter in modern history’ unless we do more to fight the coronavirus.
So, the challenge is a clear one, and we are very proud of The Heroes Act, which addresses the urgent needs of – and the actions we want to take to meet those needs. The House will vote on The Heroes Act tomorrow.
And it has three pillars. The first pillar is to, again, open the economy, open the economy by science, which calls – and health experts who call for testing, tracing, treatment and isolation. Do that. And in the package put together by largely the Energy and Commerce Committee with the, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman Frank Pallone, assistance to hospitals, all that goes into that. It has a strategic plan, a strategic plan for testing, tracing, treating and isolating. It’s what this country needs to defeat the COVID-19 virus.
Secondly, honor our heroes. That’s the title of our bill: The Heroes Act. The health care workers, the first responders, police, fire, emergency services, sanitation, food workers, our teachers, transportation workers and the rest. The list goes on. Many of them risk their lives to save lives, and now they may lose their jobs because of the coronavirus and the cost that it is to their communities.
Third – no, first, open the economy. Test, test, test.
Two. Two, we want to honor our heroes by helping state and local entities.
And, three, we want to put money in the pockets of the American people. We’re doing that with direct payments to American families with Unemployment Insurance, with child tax credit, low income tax credit, employment retention tax credit, a number of different ways. And until it is necessary – not necessary anymore, this is the path that we have to be on.
All of the things that I have just mentioned have their origin, their provenance, they have been voted upon by the Congress in one or the other of the four coronavirus pieces of legislation. So, there’s nothing really new in what I had to say. The size and the strategy of it more emphasized, but not anything that we haven’t voted on before.
In addition to that, we want to help the Postal Service. We want to have a strong OSHA provision to protect our workers and to protect our employers, and we want to have more money for our election vote by mail initiatives. And one other piece that is sort of old and new again is the assistance that we want to have for our renters and for the homeowners who are seriously finding themselves at the mercy of forbearance for mortgages. So, that’s essentially what the bill is in that way.
And let me just characterize it for you because people said, ‘Oh, it’s just partisan.’ Wait a minute. The first CARES Act was written by the Senate Republicans, the Majority Leader of the Senate. He introduced the bill. We acted upon it. We came up with a bipartisan bill: the CARES Act.
The second – the interim bill for PPP was written by the Senate Republican Leader. He introduced it. We had suggestions, we negotiated, we acted upon it, and we had a bipartisan bill. So, it’s no different when the Leader in the House, a Democrat, writes a bill and says: Here is – many of the issues, more than 80 percent of the bill we have already passed in one way, shape or form. We have a few more things, more than 80 – well over 80 percent.
So now, we’re putting our offer on the table. We’re open to negotiation. And so, when people say partisan, it’s, like, wait a minute. It wasn’t partisan when they did it. Did you say that?
And we’re saying: Okay. Here is our offer. Let’s see where you are. You have supported supporting our heroes with state and local support before. You have supported testing in the first, very first bill we passed on May – on March 4th and the very most recent bill that we passed with $25 billion in testing, as you later agreed to. You have supported direct payments to the American people and support for Unemployment Insurance, et cetera. So these are no – these are just taking us further down the path of most of that legislation.
In case you’re curious, I want to just say that I sent this letter to my colleagues, actually just now, and in the letter I thank all of them, Democrats and Republicans alike, for their interest and leadership in helping meet the needs of the American people. I tell them about Chairman Powell’s statement, about the urgency of acting and our elected Representatives’ role – thank you – that they must play at this time in order to avoid further economic downturn.
And I also say to them that this is not new, that one side of the aisle might offer, put something on the table – as they did in the two previous bills, and now we’re putting ours and invite negotiation. What I just also tell them is that they can, in preparation for the vote on the Floor, I want to encourage them to consult the resources on The Heroes Act prepared by the committee of jurisdiction, including state-by-state estimates, estimations of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the resources on relief provisions for your district and state prepared by the Appropriations Committee. Do we have a site?
Speaker Pelosi. I urge you to support this life-saving legislation and to be present on Friday.
If you go to speaker.gov, to our friends who may be watching, if you go to speaker.gov, or to our friends who are in this room, you can see this letter. And, also, it will cite a place that you can go and say, what congressional district – who your Representative is or what district you live in, certainly what state you live in, and see how your community is directly affected.
We have two tranches. The first tranche, in no particular order, the recognition of the role that the states play in honoring our heroes, and that will be what goes to the state. And then, in terms of county and municipalities, it is also visible there. I think you’ll be very pleased.
I also think it is important to note that the enthusiasm that we have received for the legislation. The National Association of Counties, for the first time, they are discretely mentioned to get specific resources. The National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The list is a long one, very long. If you ask, I’ll tell you who’s on here, but it’s a very long list of organizations. The National Governors [Association], Governor of Maryland and New York put out a statement supporting this part of the bill, the honoring our heroes, state and local, part of the legislation. So, we’re very pleased about how that is all going.
So, here we are, a day before. A lot is going on, but for us, we have, this is our focus. Now, as I said, the four previous bills were all overwhelmingly bipartisan, and we hope that this one will be too. Sadly, though, Leader McConnell said, ‘We have not yet felt the urgency of acting immediately.’ That could – ‘That time could develop,’ he said, ‘but I don’t think it has yet.’
He wants us to just ‘pause.’ He wants us to just pause. But families know that hunger doesn’t take a pause, not having a job doesn’t take a pause, not being able to pay the rent doesn’t take a pause. The hardship of it all, losing a loved one or having someone in your family sick, it just doesn’t take a pause.
So, Members of the Congress, the House and Senate, need to come together. We have to come together to pass another bill, The Heroes Act, and deliver the relief that our families desperately need. And so, you know, the American people know, as I always say of them, the American people have hearts full of love. They want us to work together. We’re all heartbroken over the loss of life. The numbers of loss of life, infection, losing jobs, et cetera, are unimaginable. But they must – they exist, and we must act upon them. And so we want you to go look to speaker.gov to see how you can find out how you are affected directly in your district because all of these people, these heroes, they affect how your city, county, township, state, meet the needs of the American people.
And as I say, it’s to address – I’ll just close by saying that the funding is to address the outlays that community – that political entities have made to address the coronavirus crisis, and those are large, larger in some communities than others, but all communities have a high percentage of revenue lost because of the coronavirus crisis. And that’s part of the distribution of these funds as well.
I’ll go into this very prayerfully, having listened to so many people across the country express their concerns and to make a best effort to come together based on what we have done before in a bipartisan way but to go further because the coronavirus has gone farther.
With that, I’m pleased to answer any questions.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
Speaker Pelosi appeared on Joy Ann Ried’s show on MSNBC and spoke about the Heroes Act. Here are some snippets from the interview.
Speaker Pelosi. This is one of the broadest bills that we’ve ever seen come before the Congress. It is a bill that is our marker that we are putting down for the American people.
We have passed four bills for the coronavirus challenge, and in those bills are the makings of what we have in this bill. Whether we’re talking about assistance to states and local as we honor our heroes; whether we’re talking about opening up our economy by testing, testing, testing; whether we’re talking about putting money into the pockets of the American people, all of those have a provenance, they have sprung from the four bipartisan bills that we have passed.
So, again, in those two of the bills, the CARES Act and the recent PPP additional interim act, those bills were started by the Leader of the Senate, the Republican Leader of the Senate. So, now, we on the House side are making our recommendation on all of this to begin the negotiation, and it has much bipartisanship in it already. It does have some momentous proposals.
When we do our aid to the states, it’s billions of dollars to the states and hundreds of millions and tens of millions of dollars depending on size of cities and townships and counties and the rest. This will make a remarkable difference for them to defray the cost of the coronavirus, but also to offset the revenue loss they have from the coronavirus.
This amount of money is not as much as Republicans put forth for their tax scam bill, keeping 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent. So, when you think of it as being so big, it’s not as big as their tax scam.
Full transcript at the link.