Pelosi Remarks at Teach-In Town Hall Highlighting the Consequences of the #GOPTaxScam
San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Congressman Mike Thompson, Bay Area advocates and middle class Americans for a teach-in highlighting the consequences of the #GOPTaxScam on working families. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi Opening Remarks.
Leader Pelosi. Good morning everyone. Thank you, Don Heller. Let us thank the University of San Francisco for their hospitality today, most importantly for their work as civic leaders and academics – part of our faith based values of San Francisco so thank you Provost Heller.
I also want to acknowledge Father Stephen Privett, the former President of University of San Francisco.
My daughter, Christine, is sitting next to him and she knows it’s like a family affair – when I was sworn in as Speaker of the House, Father Privett led the House in prayer, it always opens with a prayer. Father Privett honored us with his inspiration that day. I had the pleasure of being at his installation when he was president – I mention it because it relates to our values.
That day, when he was sworn in, the escort committee that brought him in carried banners of the Jesuits who were killed in El Salvador, their housekeeper and their daughter. And his commitment to newcomers to America and, also, respect for people where they live, the beautiful diversity of our community, our extended community. It was just so outstanding. The work of the Jesuits made progress in bringing justice to El Salvador.
At that time, when I went to Congress, later, one of the first speeches I made there was about AIDS, but also El Salvador – we needed Temporary Protected Status which we got and now they want to take it away.
Again, values have connected us for a long time. I invited you to talk about the GOP tax scam. I am very honored to be joined by my colleague from up north, [Congressman] Mike Thompson. We are co-presenting to you today. [Congressman] Mike Thompson is a Member of the Ways and Means Committee, you will learn more when I bring him on.
But, first I want to place us in time. Here we are, on Martin Luther King weekend. A year ago, many of us came together to protect the Affordable Care Act. We launched our campaign working with Indivisible and many of the groups to protect the Affordable Care Act. Quoting Dr. King: of all the forms of injustice – inequality of health care is most inhuman because people can die. He was an inspiration, when we protected the Affordable Care Act. We have saved it and we will continue to improve it. So, I thank you for what you did. Our inside maneuvering was important but the outside mobilization was essential and made all the difference, inspired by Dr. King.
Here we are, one year later, it seems like yesterday, it some ways it feels like a long time ago. One year later, again inspired by Dr. King and his remarks about equality and justice and economic justice and really saying that – we are not meant to have a society where some have excessive, excessive wealth while others are living in abject poverty. That equality is what this fight is about in this tax bill.
I just want to say a few words about – let me just say this first. As we gather today, we cant ignore the vile statement made by the 45th President of the United States. His vile and racist words are still ringing in our ears, ringing in the ears of people across the world. His terrible disrespect for people brings tears to our eyes. But we must give voice to opposition to such attitudes. Especially expressed by the President of the United States. His vulgarity and vile beliefs should disgust every American and require immediate action and it’s never been more important for us to protect our DREAMers because that’s the context in which he made that statement.
I’ll be joining –
Audience Member. The DREAM Act, no strings attached.
Leader Pelosi. That’s our position!
Just to stay with us for one moment though. Our Congressional Black Caucus, which has been very much involved in this discussion on immigration and you know why, as the President has made his [comments] – they will be [offering a] motion of censure in the House.
But to make that statement, and then he denies having made it. Then he says he did it but it wasn’t vulgar. Really?
Enough about him, because the fact is we are here to talk about the GOP Tax Scam – the GOP Tax Scam is the work of Republicans in Congress. The work of Republicans in Congress.
I just want you to remember a few things before I bring on our distinguished Member of the Ways and Means Committee. The distinguished Member of the Committee of jurisdiction on that. Remember this – 83 percent of the benefits of the bill got to the top one percent in our country.
Eighty three percent go to top one percent. Eighty six million families will get a tax increase. $1.5, almost $1.5 trillion dollars in tax [rate] cuts go to corporate America, in addition to what goes to the to 1 percent. We will increase the deficit in the $2 trillion range.
In other words, we are borrowing money to give tax cuts to the rich and corporate America, and talking about corporate America giving provisions that give a benefit to them to create jobs rather than the U.S. It’s a totally horrible thing.
People say, ‘oh there’s a tax break for families in the beginning.’ Yes, there is. The Cartoonists have it just right. I saw one that has a mousetrap, the mouse said the middle class, the mouse trap had this little crumb that they were getting, and the fat cats were there waiting for the mouse to get that little crumb. So, we cannot be misled.
It’s a complicated situation and they will spend millions of dollars – already are – misrepresenting to the public that this is a middle class tax cut. Imagine robbing from our children’s future to give tax cuts to the wealthiest, increasing the estate taxes benefits. It just doesn’t make any sense.
President [John F.] Kennedy said, ‘to govern is to choose.’ People say, ‘Democrats are about taxing and spending.’ Well, who you tax and how you invest into to the future are the choices. To govern is to choose.
And I’ll just close by saying this, Republicans have already said that they created this big tax deficit that they created this big deficit. They’re budget hawks, deficit hawks – they’ve either become endangered or extinct because they don’t care about the deficit. They’ve proven that.
But what purpose it serves for them to have this big deficit is an excuse to go after Medicare and Medicaid and others for investment in our children’s future.
So, a budget should be a statement of our national values, what we value as a country should be reflected in how we invest our resources. This is not what this is about. They’ve already said, ‘we’re not going to do a budget,’ because they don’t want the world to know the damage they will do on one piece of paper. They will just do it regularly.
Our colleague will talk about some of the specifics of it. The GOP Tax Scam is very harmful to California and they did that intentionally.
There’s so many other things they said that they’re going to eliminate Community Reinvestment Act provisions that insist in banks invest in the community in a way that advantages lower income people. This is a design and it must be stopped and a way that you stop is – you heard repeal and replace when they talk about the health care bill? Well we want to replace and repeal this bill.
All of our success [is brought] from the stories and the reality of the impact of what they’re doing and some of the stories we will hear today. One from Elana Ford, Elana is the mother of Gideon, four years old and Lila, seven years old, and she will tell her story about her son Gideon with who was diagnosed with – when he was six years old – West Syndrome. I’d love to brag about her some more but I will let you hear from her.
We will be wearing from Conny Ford, she was instrumental in founding San Francisco’s Justice Coalition of Labor Unions Organization, dedicated to expanding economic justice for all workers. And I’m so honored that she’s here because the labor piece of this is very, very important.
We’ll be hearing from a champion in the labor movement, Tom O’Connor. Tom currently serves as a Union President for San Francisco Firefighters, he is leading the nation trying to detect and prevent cancer among firefighters. He will tell the story of how this bill effects our first responders and the rest.
Now I’m honored to bring up my co-chair of this event today, he came from his own event in the North Bay. Congressman Mike Thompson is a champion of the Congress in so many ways. He has – you’ve seen him very recently, very prominently coming to the aid of the people in his district and beyond in terms of the fires in the North Bay.
He is the chair of the Task Force in the Congress on Gun Safety, gun violence prevention. He’s a veteran, he’s a hunter, and he knows full well how to protect the American people from gun violence. He has led the way in a debate as our Republicans colleagues have chosen to ignore, Newtown, ignored Texas, ignored all of these terrible situations, but because of his experience as a veteran he knows how to use a gun and the hunting is not something that – there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have, legislation on gun violence. I point that out because this is a very major issue in our country.
At the same time, he is a champion for America’s workers in that place, a champion for Californians. Please welcome my colleague, [Congressman] Mike Thompson.