Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held a photo opportunity with President-Elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. Below is a transcript of the photo opportunity:
Leader Pelosi. Good afternoon everyone. Thank you. It is an honor and a privilege, and I do say this with great enthusiasm and excitement, it’s an honor to welcome President Enrique Peña Nieto, the President-Elect of Mexico, to the Capitol of the United States. On an occasion, an earlier time before the election, my colleague, Congressman Cuellar brought candidate Peña Nieto to the Capitol and many of my colleagues have had the occasion to meet with him when he was President of the State of Mexico.
Now it is my honor, and our colleagues honor, to welcome President-Elect, and his distinguished party, to the Capitol. We’re joined by our Member of the Leadership, soon to be Chair of [the Democratic] Caucus, Xavier Becerra, former Chair of the Intel Committee, Silvestre Reyes from El Paso. Rubén Hinojosa, soon to be the Chair, is the Chair, of the Hispanic Caucus, and Congressman Cuellar – friend of the President and Member of the House Democratic Leadership as well – and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who – she has the power, Mr. President-Elect, because she controls the purse strings for the Democrats on the Foreign Operations Committee, and beyond that too.
In this room, Mr. President, this is the Rayburn Room that we welcome you to. On many occasions, your distinguished Ambassador, Ambassador Sarukhán, has been here when we have observed Cinco de Mayo, right in this room, and we have at that time taken the occasion to honor our Latino-American men and women in uniform who are serving or have served our country. So we’re very proud of the contribution that the Hispanic-American community makes to America. We’re blessed by their enthusiasm, their faith in family and tradition and hard work, and that is the lesson that many of them have brought from Mexico. So again, as a Californian, I take special pride in welcoming you here because our connection, right Mr. Becerra? We consider it to be a very special relationship. We congratulate you on your recent election and look forward to working together to advance and reinforce the essential partnership between the United States and Mexico.
The U.S. and Mexico are separated by a border, but we have many common and community interests. We share so much: our family, our values of faith, family, as I mentioned, and love of our respective countries. Our bonds of friendship with our neighbors runs deep and our mutual respect is strong. The United States, as I said, is blessed with a large Latino community. I can’t say that enough.
And so we look forward to working together with the President-Elect, after he’s sworn in on December 1st, congratulations, and to hearing his views on how we can work together to advance Mérida Initiatives: to strengthen our borders, fight organized crime, and combat drug trafficking, and tackle our common energy, environmental, and economic challenges. And we hope to address the migration issue by having comprehensive immigration reform brought before the Congress when the President sends it to us. But we, again, have a strong Hispanic Caucus that is working on these issues – the leadership of Xavier Becerra, Luis Gutierrez and others.
So, in that spirit of friendship, we talk about the relationship of Mexico, our closest neighbor, Mexico, I think is our biggest customer, incidentally, our biggest customer. And that relationship, in many ways beyond economics, is very important to the United States. Members of Congress welcome the opportunity to meet with you, Mr. President-Elect, and members of your distinguished delegation strengthen our friendship now and into the future.
Mr. President, you come at a time when we’re very involved in our own budget debate. And I want you to know that we feel – continue to feel – very optimistic that before the year is out we will celebrate our holiday having solved that problem.
Thank you. Welcome, Mr. President.
President-Elect Peña Nieto.
[Through An Interpreter]
Thank you very much. Good afternoon. First of all, I want to thank [Leader] Nancy Pelosi, for her hospitality, her words. And the Members of Congress, the Congressman that are here with us to meet here today and this is part of the purpose of my Administration: to work in favor of a closer relationship with more propositions, more construction, and of greater benefits for our peoples. I quote in something that a U.S. Congressman once said: that the river that sometimes is considered to divide our peoples, our nations, the Rio Bravo, the division between Mexico and the United States it seems, and the Congressman who’s here with us today, he said: “More than dividing us, it united us.”
This visit is in this framework, of this purpose, the opportunity to extend sources of dialogue, of communication, and of a constant conversation with different political-social sectors of the United States that will allow for us to have this type of framework of the relationship between Mexico and the United States. For us to be able to accomplish, which is the purpose of the relationship we have between our two countries: more integration of the North American region that will allow us to be more competitive, that will allow us to generate more jobs and opportunities for the citizens of both nations.
I believe we equally share Mexico and the United States, an important challenge of job creation and also to work on the issues that are so broad that they should be used so that the benefits for our people are greater in terms of public security, for cooperation, greater cooperation that will give way to greater efficiency, with safe and modern borders. And also working in agreements to promote activity and economic growth and cultural exchanges and something that I’m certain is of great importance for both nations: education. This is one of the topics we are approaching this first dialogue and this dialogue here with the Congressman that are here with us today, I reiterate my appreciation for your hospitality and I wish that the topics you’re discussing here today for your domestic problems here in the United States are very successful in all your discussions. Whatever we can do together will contribute to expand and broaden the very good relationship that we should always have between Mexico and the United States, between the United States and Mexico.
Thank you very much.
Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much.