Pelosi Floor Remarks Urging Speaker Ryan to Make Public Commitment to Schedule Vote on Protecting DREAMers
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of U.S. House of Representatives urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to make a public commitment to schedule a vote on the bipartisan Hurd-Aguilar Bill to protect DREAMers. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Do I get eight hours to sleep?
I thank the gentlelady for yielding. And I thank the Members of the Rules Committee, all of you, for the great service you provide to our House – the House of Representatives. This great House of the people.
And I wish that the Speaker would treat the House of the Speaker with the dignity that it deserves by giving us an opportunity, just an opportunity — for him to say that he would bring legislation to the Floor. The Hurd-Aguilar bill, for one, and then the other pieces of legislation regarding DACA so the House can work its will under the Queen of the Hill, the rule.
Last night Mr. [Congressman Jim] Clyburn, the Assistant Leader, and Mr. [Congressman Steny] Hoyer, the Democratic Whip, and I sent a letter to the Speaker. It said, ‘Dear, Mr. Speaker. In the spirit of bipartisanship, we write to again reiterate our sincere desire to ensure that the government remains open and that the priorities of the American people are properly addressed.
‘As you know, Democrats have been clear that we support a budget agreement that ensures our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to protect our country and that America’s middle class and working families have the tools they need to succeed.
‘As part of this agreement we have always expected that the House and the Senate would address the issue of DACA and the Dreamers. Most of our Members believe the budget agreement is a reasonable compromise to address America’s military strength and critical domestic priorities, like fighting the opioid crisis, boosting NIH, moving forward to resolve the pension crisis, caring for our veterans, making college more affordable, and investing in child care for working families.’
The agenda that I read was what we fought for and obtained in the budget agreement. We did not object to the large defense amount that was in the bill.
Speaker Pro-Tempore. The House is not in order.
Leader Pelosi. We did not object to the large amount of money that was in for defense. Although some had said, ‘what is the purpose, what is the mission?’ We said, ‘let’s go forward with that.’ But to keep faith with the budget agreement, we insisted that the increases in defense would be met by increases on the domestic side.
So, we have fought this fight. This is a success for us. To get, as I said, to get the opioid crisis, boosting the NIH, pension crisis, caring for our veterans, making college more affordable and investing in child care for our working families. This was the fight that we had with Republicans because they have a reluctance to support domestic spending
Speaker Pro-Tempore. The House is not in order.
Leader Pelosi. So, the fact that this came to agreement after months of going back and forth on the caps, I think is very important to recognize.
But, again, writing to the Speaker, ‘we’re writing again to reiterate our request that you make a public statement regarding the scheduling of a vote on the DACA bill.
‘We are writing to again reiterate our request that you make a public statement regarding the scheduling of a vote on a DACA bill. Our request is that you publicly state that you will schedule a vote to consider the bipartisan Hurd-Aguilar bill and any other DACA bills that you wish to consider, under a Queen of the Hill rule.’ as I mentioned earlier.
‘We strongly believe that Members of the House and their constituents deserve the same dignity that Leader McConnell has extended to Members of the Senate by allowing for a vote on this issue.’
And so, we haven’t heard back from the Speaker on this. But I do support the defeating the previous question.
The gentleman on the other side said, ‘why would anybody vote against this bill? Why would anybody vote against this rule?’
Well, because we have an opportunity right here to take matters into our own hands, defeat the Previous Question, so that we can take up the DREAM Act. So, we can take up the DREAM Act.
That would be the House working its will. Because we do know that the DREAM Act has support on both sides of the aisle. And we thank our Republican colleagues, those who have spoken out publicly, for their courage in supporting this protection.
If another country said that they were going to deport 800,000 people or place in jeopardy their protections under the law, we would be appalled. We would criticize them. How can we, the United States of America, give me your poor, your hungry – you know Emma Lazarus, I don’t have to go into it right now. But I do, we all carry it in our hearts.
And so, I urge a no on the Previous Question. Because a [no] would have allowed us to bring up the DREAM Act.
I really want to disabuse anyone in this body of any idea that we are not there to support our men and women in uniform. To give them the resources they need to keep themselves and our nation safe.
But I do recognize, also, that what our military are protecting is the greatest country that ever existed in the history of the world. The United States of America.
What is the United States of America? It is a country governed by a Constitution that has been a beacon to the world. It is a country populated by the beautiful diversity of America and a country that has a beautiful patrimony given to us by God, our natural beauty, and fighting for those values of what we try to do in this bill.
Why can’t we extend the hand of protection? And so I urge a no vote on the Previous Question and yield back.