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Pelosi Remarks at Meeting Today with NGA Leaders Rendell and Douglas

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman George Miller, Chair of the House Democratic Policy Committee, met this morning with Governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Jim Douglas of Vermont, the chairman and vice chairman of the National Governors Association.  Below are the Speaker's remarks at a photo opportunity at the top of the meeting:

“Good morning. I'm very pleased to welcome Governor Rendell from Pennsylvania, Governor Douglas of Vermont, the Chair and Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, to the Speaker's office this morning.  We are joined by our colleague, the Chair of the Policy Committee, Mr. Miller, to hear firsthand what the governors have to say about how we go forward, particularly in regard to an economic recovery package for our country. 

“We have spoken together in the past on issues regarding children's health in a bipartisan way, and we look forward to going forward in a bipartisan way on issues of economic recovery.”

“I'd like to thank the governors for their leadership.  The infrastructure issue is not a partisan issue.  As we now work together again, we're relating it to the energy independence issue in a fresh way.  The package that we want to put together, we have already done a prototype of it  -- the $61 billion recovery package we passed in the House.  As you know, we need more now. So you hear people say this is going to be a project of indicative of the 1930s. No, it isn't.  It's going to be about innovation and about the future, about creating the jobs of the 21st century.  We can't do that without the leadership of the governors.

“We certainly look forward to working with President-elect Obama to have this legislation signed into law in addition to having his initiatives included in it.

“Thank you all.

Question:  How soon do you think you could get it done in the new year?

Speaker Pelosi:  “I think we will be coming to some agreement today.  Again, we have heard the governors over and over again and shared their leadership.  I'll meet with our Members next week. I've already asked Mr. Obey, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, to expand the package that we have.  I've talked to the chairmen of various committees, the Chairman of Science and Technology Committee, for example; we already have the proposal to make this an innovative package. I've talked to Mr. Oberstar, the Chairman of Infrastructure and Transportation; we have his proposal…

Q.    Do you expect weeks or months?

Speaker Pelosi:  “We hope to be ready when Congress comes into session as the President-elect makes his imprint that we all invite and look forward to incorporating.

Q.  Speaker Pelosi, can you react to Senator Obama's announcement of his national security team this morning, especially Gates, who is a Republican staying on, and what that means for Obama supporters and his support for the Iraq war?

Speaker Pelosi:  “I congratulate the President-elect on the strength of his national security team. Secretary Gates, I think, sends a message of confidence that the transition is going to be a smooth one.  I just got off the phone before I came in here with Senator Clinton to congratulate her on the impending announcement and the strength that she brings to the office of Secretary of State.  Susan Rice, just a remarkable appointment, and I have for a long time been a fan of Jim Jones as a brilliant strategist.

“I think the President-elect chose very well and I am very excited about it.  Protecting the American people for us is our first responsibility.  This strong team that President-elect Obama is naming today is one that I think should give us great confidence and a message to the rest of the world that we will have a respectful foreign policy built in.”