The following is a transcript of an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aired Sunday January 9, 2022 on “Face the Nation”.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we want to focus on what lies ahead in 2022, especially in an election year, and there might not be a better guest than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Hello, Madam President.
NANCY PELOSI HOUSE SPEAKER: Hello. Hello to you and happy new year.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Happy New Year. I don’t think any of us wanted to start with this Omicron wave that we are seeing happening, and I know in Congress you are also seeing an increase in infections, N-95 masks are now being donated. to staff. How will this increase impact the work you can do in the weeks to come?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, before I get to the heart of the matter, I just want to say that I come here this Sunday morning, fresh off the service celebrating the life of Majority Leader Harry Reid. Two presidents of the United States spoke, the leadership of Congress, the vice president was there, the governors, everyone; but nothing was so eloquent as his voices, the voices of his children who spoke of their father. So being here on the Senate side, I have to start by praising and remembering Harry Reid. COVID is – it’s the center of it all. It is about the health of the American people, of course, but also its impact on our economy, the education of our children, the safety of all at work and at school. So the- the- I’m looking forward to us taking advantage of the advances in science on this, that there is a pill that will be able to step in from the early stages and we want to have the resources available to do that. The questions in the Supreme Court will be very important as two bills – sorry, two cases there: one on healthcare workers, one on the president’s tenure going beyond healthcare workers . So there are a lot of things, whether it is a law for more resources, whether it is the court decision and the rest. And also, it is simply our own personal responsibility to stay safe.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When you say legislation for more resources, six trillion dollars has already been spent in that time – has been allocated during this pandemic. Are you saying you need more coronavirus relief, and will that go into the spending bill when government funding runs out next month?
QUESTIONER PELOSI: Well, the – again, we have to protect the investment that’s there. Most importantly, we must protect the health of the American people. Now the administration has not made a formal request for more funding, but it is clear from the opportunity that presents itself. And then again, the challenge that is there comes from the resilience of this virus, and viruses are, the more they spread, the more they are transmitted, the more they mutate. So the right advice for everyone to get the vaccine, to be masked, to have space distancing and the rest and to be tested, tested, tested continues to be important.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When you have that government funding deadline of February 18, I think you’ll have an opportunity to bundle, maybe other things here. Are you going to try to extend the child care tax credit at that point because it has expired?
QUESTIONER PELOSI: Well, that’s a different bill.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SPEAKER PELOSI: That’s-it’s in the Build Back Better legislation in the- the appropriation bill, which is to keep government open. We are currently in these negotiations under the leadership of our house of Rosa DeLauro, our distinguished president of the credits committee, and we must find a solution. Now, I’m an Appropriator, it’s my culture in appropriations and Congressional intelligence, and I believe that left to their own devices on both sides of the aisle that Appropriators can get the job done. The- something like additional funding can be in there. It can be fenced off for emergencies, as would COVID .–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SPEAKER PELOSI: – The– the child tax credit, we have to have this fight– this discussion in the Build Back Better legislation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you won’t be removing that as some sort of attachment or stand-alone at this point?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, I hope I do. But to do this, in order to pass the Rebuild for the better, it is in the process of reconciliation, we only need 51 votes. The reconciliation bill – the supply bill requires 60 votes in the Senate, so we have to do what’s possible.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the – Senator Manchin made it clear that it is not possible at this point. Sounds like you’re trying to reignite these discussions, right – where is it? Have you spoken to the senator?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, I have spoken to the honorable senator over time. I think there is an agreement to be made. It is so important to our country that we are talking right now about the need for child care for moms and dads whose children may or may not go to school. Child care is so important all the time. More importantly, even now when we talk about universal preschool and child care and we talk about the child tax credit, we are talking about home health care. All of these things, expanding the Affordable Care Act to include those that haven’t been extended under Medicaid in some of these states. But on top of that, we see the weather – and that weather tells us that we need to do what’s in the bill to deal with the climate crisis, which is the root of so many unusual natural disasters. Not all of the climate but exasperated by it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the – the White House is putting its shoulder behind this push for voting rights and electoral law against Build Back Better in the next few days, at least. I want to ask you when you look across the country there are many states that are changing their own election laws, and that could increase the chances of partisan interference when it comes to certifying the outcome of an election. Did you think about this scenario for those mid-course races? Would you commit to setting an elected person down if – if their election is not certified in the state that they were elected in? I mean, whatever the outcome, are you going to sit them down?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, first, let’s get the bill passed. I- I think the order of things is very appropriate. There is nothing more important to us than to protect our constitution and our democracy. What Republicans are doing across the country is truly a continuing legislative pursuit of what they did on January 6, which is to undermine our democracy, undermine the integrity of our elections, undermine – voting power. , which is the essence of a democracy. So we have to make this bill which is not a more important bill which allows us to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There are no votes in the Senate for that at this point. So I’m- how will you handle-
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, we just have to keep working on this. I just have to keep working.
MARGARET BRENNAN: – But did you think – did you think about that scenario because it’s a potential scenario for these next races where you have this state level dispute? How are you going to handle this?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, it’s not a question of how we’re going to handle something in a year. What is important right now is how we protect and defend the Constitution and voting rights. What they are doing and as you pointed out very clearly, and I thank you for that, is that they don’t just remove the vote, remove the vote, they cancel the election, saying, well, little it doesn’t matter who gets more votes, it doesn’t matter who the three people we appoint to analyze this, whatever they decide. We cannot let this happen. And in this law – thank you for leading us down this path, in this law there are tougher penalties for what they do to election officials, what they do and threaten elected officials. It is a very significant threat to our democracy. This legislation is the most important and we must keep working to do the job well because it is as vital as any legislation we might pass.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’ll talk about electoral integrity later in the program. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for your time this morning.
SPEAKER PELOSI: It’s a pleasure to be with you. Good year.