House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held her weekly briefing with reporters on Capitol Hill. She answered a range of questions on the status of the coronavirus relief package negotiations and the recent jobs report. Speaker Pelosi stressed that the relief package had to be done before Congress recessed for the holidays.
Nancy Pelosi: . . . the Appropriations Committee in the Senate, Nita Lowey as the chair in the House, their staff working together. So don’t worry about a date. It will be in sufficient time for us to get it done. The sooner, the better, but not at the expense of the initiatives that we need to address in the bills.
Reporter: Thank you. So just to be clear, when you said no continuing resolution.
Nancy Pelosi: I don’t want any, no. . .
Reporter: I understand that. But if you are on the precipice of getting a coronavirus deal done and if you are on the-
Nancy Pelosi: It won’t be long before that.
Reporter: Okay, but what shifted in your opinion, when the problem solvers caucus and a much larger bill a few months ago you did not like that [inaudible]. What has shifted that when they’re onboard with this piece, [inaudible]?
Nancy Pelosi: Perhaps you missed what I said earlier. Joe Biden committed to ending and crushing the virus and having a build a better America of initiative, big, back, better. A vaccine, the answer to our prayers, an answer to our prayers of 95% effectiveness in terms of Pfizer and Moderna. And there may be others coming forward. That makes, that is a total game changer, a new president and a vaccine. So, what was it then before was not more of this. This has simplicity. It’s what we’ve had in our bills. It’s for a shorter period of time, but that’s okay now, because we have a new president. A president who recognizes that we need to depend on science to stop the virus. A president who understands that America’s working families need to have money, their pockets in a way that takes them into the future, without any of the contraptions of any of the other bills that the administration was associating itself with before. We feel very excited about the prospect that the there’s a bipartisan deal, because I told members I’m not bringing any more bills that are not bipartisan. We wanted to show what needs to be done in the interest of negotiation. They’re negotiating. It’s a good product. It’s not everything we want, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want the Republicans to think that this is a dream come true. It is not, but it is a path forward. Yeah.
Reporter: months ago, when you said I would not accept that below-
Nancy Pelosi: I’m going to tell you something. Don’t characterize what we did before as a mistake as a preface to your question, if you want an answer. That was not a mistake, it was a decision. And it has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without other, shall we say considerations in the legislation that we don’t want. Now that is it. Now, the fact is I’m very proud of where we are. My chairs have worked very hard on all of this. They were not even happy with a proposal that we made the other day before we saw this proposal. They thought we had come back to too small. So it’s not about an … it’s about how we address the needs of the American people. And we have to do it in a scientific way, and we’d have to do it in a way that recognizes people need food on the table. They need to get their rent paid. They need money in their pockets. They need their unemployment insurance to be there. They do not need a whole cacophony of other things that are on the agenda that had nothing to do with meeting their needs. So we’re very pleased at where it is. And as I say, with a Democratic president, committed to a scientific solution for this, with the idea that we will have a vaccine, it’s a complete game changer from them.
Reporter: The petition that-
Nancy Pelosi: You.
Reporter: Thank you. Joe Biden said that on his first day in office, you’ll use Title IX to give transgender students access to sports bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance that their gender identity in all federally funded schools, does he have the power to unilaterally do this? And do you agree with that?
Nancy Pelosi: Yes. And I think he does. Yes, ma’am?
Reporter: Speaker Pelosi. The petition that Rita Hart is going to file soon as far as her race is concerned over in Iowa. How is the House going to prevent a situation that was seen in 1985, between McCloskey and his Republican opponent? And would you encourage the loser of the New York 22 race could do the same thing if their recount, is in a very slim margin?
Nancy Pelosi: The issue relating to Iowa is that an issue for the House Administration Committee. It is my understanding that Rita Hart, an excellent candidate for Congress, will be asking the House to take this up. But for further information about the technicalities of that, that becomes a House, not a political, but a House administration matter. House decides who it will seat. We don’t have any idea … New York is a completely different situation. New York’s a completely different situation. New York, there could be 1500, 5,000 votes not counted yet. So that is going into the court. I think Monday is the day in the court. And that is what is … we’ll see what happens in the court. And that may end up in the counts. I don’t know. But the court will decide which votes will be counted, but that’s like down to 12 volts. It’s interesting, people should know, everyone should know his or her vote counts. Six votes or what the spread is at the moment in Iowa. 12 votes. Now this is on the basis of hundreds of thousands of votes cast, of hundreds of thousands of votes cast. So, it is one of those matters that time will tell, we’ll see what the court says. We’ll see what the House administration options are and what they decide to do as they go forward. Here.
Reporter: I just want to get a clarification as it relates to your conversations with Leader McConnell. So is this now a situation we were expecting an omnibus and any sort of relief to be mashed in the one piece of legislation?
Nancy Pelosi: That would be our hope because that is the vehicle leaving the station. And I was pleased that he wanted to do it that way, because that’s what we thought would be the best way to do. The vehicle’s leaving the station, in other words, you see a bill come to the floor, you don’t see the whole underpinnings or the orchestration of what it takes to get to a place. So if there’s a vehicle and we can add this language, once we see the text, that is what we would be doing.
Reporter: Would you need an agreement on both components to bring something to the floor?
Nancy Pelosi: Yeah. Yep, yep. That’s what we’re working on. Yes, because we would want a big strong vote as we will have getting back to our earlier, on the National Defense Bill. We’re very proud of the bipartisanship that has gone into that. The quality of life issues there for military families, also the system to change the names of the bases that were named for white supremacists, in some cases, by design named for former members of the Confederacy, well after the Civil War. So again, there are many things in there about our practical responsibility of protecting and defend, but also about our values. For us, that was not a provision or an issue, it was an ethic. It was a value. Thank you all very much.