House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds a Press Briefing CSPAN April 29, 2020 9:55pm-10:31pm EDT
all arguments in 10 cases by teleconference. c-span will provide live coverage of each session. monday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, the justices peer the case of u.s. patent trademark office versus booking.com, it is a fight for the company to trademark its website. listen to the supreme court oral arguments as they are heard by the justices, live monday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. ordemand at c-span.org listen on the free c-span radio app. >> house speaker nancy pelosi held a news conference to announce the democratic members of a new select subcommittee to look into the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. she was joined by the chair of the panel, majority whip, james clyburn.
spkr. pelosi: good afternoon. here we are in our new arrangement of social distancing. thank you for being here. it is a very important day for us for a number of reasons. it is heartbreaking, but we have passed the milestone of one million people in our country who are sick, and nearly 60,000 who have died from the coronavirus. the american people expect congress to do all that we can to protect the lives, the livelihood, and the life of our democracy in what we do here. and they expect us to ensure that the nearly $2 trillion of historic relief that we have passed in a number of bills is widely and effectively used.
that it goes to those who need it the most. and so today, just to put this in historic perspective, at the dawn of world war ii, then-senator harry truman, with a democratic administration, but he was a senator, and he basically said, i knew that after world war i there had been 116 investigative committees after the fact, and i felt our committee before the fact would prevent a lot of waste, and maybe even save some lives, and that is the way it turned out. it was a committee that cost around $1 million, saved about $15 billion dollars of those years. so, it is about waste, fraud, and abuse, as i said, and making sure the money goes where it is supposed to go.
what i loved about what harry truman said is that as they looked at spending the rest, he said, later when he was president, he said every $0.10 that was spent for those work relief projects, every dime that was looked into, and somebody was always against spending a nickel that would help poor people and give jobs to the men who did not have any. but the minute they start spending money on defense money, the sky was the limit, the economy boys, no questions asked. now, we want to have all our resources needed to bring our economy back, but we do not want all of the excessive attention to, well, wait and see how the states do before we do more for the states, like harry truman said. but that is not what today is. today, for the purpose, that was
captured by soon to be president of the united states, we formed a special bipartisan oversight panel on the coronavirus. this committee will prevent waste fraud, and abuse. and it will be focused on making sure that the federal response -- and it will be focused on making sure that the federal response is based on the best science and guided by health experts. i am proud to appoint distinguished and accomplished leaders to the committee that will ensure that our coronavirus response puts working families first. i am very delighted that the distinguished whip of the house will be chair of the committee. he brings credentials that -- in so many ways. including is a longtime member of the appropriations committee. congresswoman maxine waters, and congresswoman emelia velasquez,
their two committees have the heart of so much of the matter of what we are talking about small businesses, which are such an important part of our economy. so, also a member of financial services, but the combination of financial services and small businesses is very important. and the chair of the oversight committee, she is on this committee also, a member of the financial services committee. congressman bill foster, a scientist. he brings his eye shade mentality as his big picture of the economy of our country as a scientist, and as a small businessperson. then congresswoman jamie raskin, an attorney, long recognized as a professor of constitutional law, brings is historic perspective and entrepreneurial approach to taking our country in a new direction as we review the disparities that we are seeing now.
in congressman andy kim, a freshman member of congress, he brings his national security credentials in a very important way. he is part of our defense members in the freshman class, and we are very proud. he is also a member of the small business committee, actually a subcommittee chair of that committee. so again, it is with great excitement that we establish this. it is bipartisan. we are hoping the republican leader will name his members soon. we have been in communication. i told him a couple days ago who i was going to be appointing so he can make his own judgments about the committee. but we wanted to be as nonpartisan as possible, and very much a part of doing the right thing for the american
people. and nobody does that better than our distinguished chair of the select committee on the coronavirus, mr. whip, the distinguished gentleman from south carolina. rep. clyburn: thank you very much, madam speaker. i want to thank you for the faith and confidence -- i think i'm going to do this. for the faith and confidence that you have demonstrated in appointing me to chair this committee, and also for your thoughts on this and your thoroughness in appointing the other members of this committee. i want to also say that these members, i know all of them, have worked very closely with
all of them, and they know these issues very well, and i think they will do the country proud. as we go about the business of trying to make sure that the trillions of taxpayer dollars that are intended to mitigate the effects of this crisis are dispersed in a way that is efficient, effective, and equitable. speaker pelosi envisions, as she just said, that this committee will operate as the 1941 truman committee did, and hopefully we will not just model that committee, but hopefully we will meet with similar successes. i feel very confident that we will. in this moment of crisis, the american people expect for congress to lead.
we have no higher priority than the health and well-being of the american people. and as they go about the business of struggling to maintain your health, to find ways to pay the rent, the mortgage, and hopefully take care of their families by keeping food on the table, that we will do our part to make sure that they are treated with dignity and respect, and fairly. congress has a constitutional duty, and a moral responsibility to ensure that these $2 trillion-plus in taxpayer money spent wisely and properly to address the needs of the american people. the american people deserve it,
and they expect it. i look forward to republican leader kevin mccarthy making his appointments to this committee, so that we can go about our business of carrying out our responsibilities in a bipartisan manner. and in that regard, please allow me to cite an adage that i often refer to. an adage that says, the best way to predict future performance is to look at past behavior. now, i don't know whether or not the speaker is aware of this or not, but for the 18 years immediately before coming to congress, it was my duty and responsibility to conduct oversight, and supervise investigations into state agencies.
i did so for four governors. two democrats, and two republicans. and in those nearly 18 years, i was never credibly accused of carrying out my responsibilities in a politically partisan manner. and i don't plan to do so in this instance. if one were to refer to a little bit of history, you will see that the most contentious event that ever occurred on the campuses of a college in south carolina, at least in modern times, the campus of the citadel , and i was asked by then-governor riley, to
investigate that incident and make recommendations to the state of south carolina on how to overcome it and how to prepare for the future. a second very contentious event took place in the little town of conway, where we had virtually martial law in that town. i was asked to investigate that by then-governor karen campbell. and we did so in a way that all people in south carolina felt that we did it fairly, and we did not do it politically. we will not do that in this instance. so i am looking forward to leader mccarthy making his appointments to this committee, because it is important to the american people that we do what is necessary for them to maintain confidence in their government, and do it in a way that's transparent. thank you, madam speaker.
spkr. pelosi: thank you, mr. whip clyburn. i was aware of your reputation in that regard, but i know firsthand on your work post-katrina, where it was clear you were there for the people, not for any other agenda than that. and also later when we had the post-2008 downturn in our economy, how you worked to help build us back in a bipartisan way, almost agnostic. does not matter where the ideas are coming from, what matters is what works for the american people. so thank you for your nonpartisan, patriotic leadership. i do want to say that this committee also has a measure of success. as you know, two of the members of the committee, maxine waters and illini velasquez, were
instrumental in putting in the bill issues about lower under bank businesses being able to access the loans. we had some concerns with reports that were coming out after the first tranche was spent almost immediately. and so, in the new bill, we put forth a specific carveout for those under bank communities. we are waiting to hear from the secretary today, the names of some of the small businesses that received loans, but when i say we already had a victory, earlier today the small business administration put out an advisory that between 4:00 p.m.
today and midnight tonight, eastern daylight time, the window for loans would only be for those financial institutions below $1 billion, which just gives them so much opportunity. and that is a very big step forward. that was the spirit of the legislation, and we are glad it is giving this opportunity. because that is always first-come, first-served. it is hard no matter how you construct it to ensure that even those under banked, that the smallest businesses are getting the opportunity that they have. so, congratulations to our two chairwoman, and i am very excited where we go from here, in terms of legislation that we will talk about tomorrow, but we are saluting our heroes, and our heroes are well served in the previous bill, largely responsible for the $100 billion for hospitals and testing, as well as ppe and the rest, for our heroes. that takes me to the point of all of this. of course we are going to act in a nonpartisan way in this. we owe it to our heroes. our health care providers, our police and fire, emergency services people, our transit workers, our food folks are very important, our postal workers, our teachers, all those people out there on be frontline meeting the needs of the american people.
we are not going to spend time away from meeting their needs, but making sure their means are net. that is part of what we will do in cares ii, which we will talk about tomorrow. but for today, we want to be worthy of those people, those heroes. they are the ones who are leading the way. american people are leading the way, saying we do not want to go back in before it is the right time to go back in. so let us listen to the people, let us heed the leadership of
our heroes as we go forward. and as we do so, to have oversight to ensure that there is nobody ripping off off by saying they are selling masks when they do not even have any, they are trying to get the checks of people who are getting the advance payments, depriving them of that. there are plenty of things that we want to look into, and i have every confidence that this distinguished committee, with the balance that has, the humanity of it all, but the experience and wisdom of these members will guide us very well. with that, i am pleased to take any questions you may have. >> [indiscernible] what is your response? spkr. pelosi: leader schumer and i both want what many of your colleagues who were present on the phone, and maybe they are present here but they cannot ask a question -- it says at the time this coronavirus challenge,
especially now, we have every reason to protect our workers and our patients in all of this. so we would not be in kind to be supporting any immunity from liability. did you want to speak to that? chime in any time. >> if after action review will be at all in the purview of this committee? spkr. pelosi: i am sorry? after action review is after action. we are still in the action. this is about the here and now and as we go forward. again, our focus is on our heroes. we want to make sure that they have what they need to do their jobs. they are risking their lives to save lives. in the meantime, they may lose their jobs.
so we want to make sure that how this is all implemented isn't -- is in furtherance of being worthy of them. we have praised them and prayed for them, but we are ready to do it to protect them and support them. after action is after action. we are in the battle right now. sayi would hope that when i the battle with the coronavirus that this will, shall we say, anticipate or perhaps stave off any waste, fraud, and abuse. because this is about transparency and accountability. >> getting back to state and local aid. one of the issues was a population tax. do you see yourselves removing that tax? spkr. pelosi: no one has been a bigger champion of that in congress since mr. clyburn.
do you want to speak to that? rep. clyburn: it is very important for us when we talk about state and local, remember, it is state and local. and the fact that we have had so often is that we get hung up at the state level, then forget that the cities, the counties, even local public service districts, are local governments. and we ought to pay close attention to if they are getting what they need as well. for state and local, i have been pressing my caucus for years to remember, it did not say all local, it's and local. i'm very, very conscious of that as we have these discussions. spkr. pelosi: if i may, again, more for tomorrow, but since you
asked, what our plan is now is to have two separate, maybe even three, state, county, and municipality. and we can take it all the way down, we think to 10000 and fewer. this is a big issue for all the members. the governors have a big problem. they have a big problem in terms of the coronavirus. many of the space -- states that do. they want to meet their budget needs, and the community does as well. we expect governors to spend money in their states down to every level, but we want -- let me say this for two purposes. i want to make this very clear, because he mentioned the republican leader saying we are not doing state and local
because we want to see how the old money works, but not any review of any other money. anyway, they said we are not taking care of their budget. that is not what this is about. everything we are doing is about the coronavirus. so when states are submitting what their needs are and what their outlets are, it is about what they did in terms of what they spent on the coronavirus, and what their revenue loss is. this is essential to their survival, that their revenue loss is counted as a coronavirus cost as well. and that applies to state, county, municipality, and -- this is a very important principle we will have there. it has nothing to do with whatever their past history is. as one state mentioned, they had woes under their republican governor, but that is not our issue. our issue is what is spent on corona and what is the opportunity revenue loss from the coronavirus. but yes, we expect to have some direct assistance. again, with every call we have with our members, this is an overwhelming issue for them.
any other? >> last week you all had a discussion about what potential mode voting was looking like. that was -- potential remote voting was looking life. that was taken off the floor. spkr. pelosi: again, our purpose here is to talk about oversight and the excellence of the committee, the democrats on the committee i have named, and the totality of their experience, wisdom, humanity that they bring to that. in order for us to meet and also to vote on legislation that the gentlelady was referencing, we have to have a process. so, we had -- just to put in context -- more than a month ago i asked the rules committee to give us a report on remote voting, every aspect of it.
he did so maybe a month ago. and then asked for comments from members, then he put out the recommendation a little more than two weeks ago, that what was feasible was remote voting by proxy. that we will continue to look at the technology to see how much more we could do for this whole body, but that there were some possibilities for virtual meetings, smaller number, rather than the 430. when we were here to perhaps vote on the proxy, i had the impression, rightly so, from mr. mccarthy, that he wasn't there, but he might be reviewing what could happen.
because they, as we all want to, come in to do the people's work present, although we are doing the work every day in our district. times," i made a commitment to her, but we want to have sessions in washington. so, with the opportunity that this could be bipartisan, because that would be manner -- would be better in my view. with that hope, mr. hoyer and mr. mccarthy, mr. mcgovern, and mr. cole, congresswoman laughlin and her ranking member davis have been meeting.
they have had a couple meetings so far, but more conversations. and i think that the consensus is that there will be a vote on proxy voting, what republicans will be doing or not will be up to them to announce. but on the committee meeting, there's serious considerations. some members want to come back. next week i think appropriations has announced that they are going to have a meeting, and maybe small business. the chairman may decide to have a meeting next week here. there could be meetings of everyone here, depending on the size of the committee, or virtual, or hybrid. leadership of the committee, and then other people in by way of other technologies. i do want to say throughout all this, we have had 30 briefings, because we cannot officially have a hearing because we have not voted. we have not done that by remote yet. but we have had 20 meetings, at least 20, of each committees of jurisdiction. and also that the appropriations committee said that they would be meeting next week.
and that brings me to my final point, which is mr. clyburn's committee is a place that will have all this. that committee will build upon this work. but we do not have any impression that this is in any way a substitute for what the committees do. they all have an oversight responsibility. 20 briefings already. there will be more once we officially say there can be a hearing or a committee meeting. and so, all of them have the responsibility, whether it's mr. colón and his issues, whether it is bobby scott, osha, family medical leave, pensions, all those issues, how they are affected by this.
whether it is the agriculture committee, and how we are meeting the food needs of the american people. we want snap, we want food stamps and other nutrition programs in the legislation. that has been a struggle. ways and means issues that relate to medicare, and in some cases medicaid, but that is also an energy and commerce issue. the banking committee will have its oversight hearing. small business will have its. and the list goes on. this does not take the place of that. this will all be happening. but they have other business to deal with, too. the sole purpose of this select committee is to make sure that we have a bright light shining on the implementation on $2 trillion of taxpayer dollars to make sure they are spent in a way that moves -- removes all doubt there will not be waste, fraud, abuse, etc.
it addresses disparities that we have had, but also recognizes our responsibility to do so in as nonpartisan away as possible. did you have a final? reporter: you just said that this committee does not replace the role of the other committees, but even the vote to have this committee, republicans are concerned -- that is their reasoning. they are saying why do we need this committee if we have other oversight committees? how do you reassure them? spkr. pelosi: let me just say that you use the words "their reasoning." their reasoning when they established a committee to do away with planned parenthood,
there were committees that dealt with women's health issues and the rest, but they decided to form a select committee on planned parenthood. again, 100 one million people had not been diagnosed. 50,000, 60,000 people had not died, but they thought it was urgent to have a select committee. benghazi. how long and how much money did they spend on benghazi? they had the intelligence committee, all of those committees looking at all that. and yet, select committees. so, their so-called reasoning does not seem to apply by their own experience. i, myself, have a select committee on climate. it does not mean that the other committees of jurisdiction,
every committee i task, do what you can do about climate, whether it is the defense committee, natural resources committee, whatever. ways and means, whatever your committee is, how can you help us address the climate crisis. that was 2007, and now too. it's not to say we don't want the wisdom and intellectual resources that can be gathered there. it's just that select committee does just that. that is the focus, that is where the public will pay attention to what is going on, and have the assurance that there taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and well. so, they were arguing against themselves when they made that case. but you are asking the question, so maybe convinced somebody. but i know i did not convince you.
in any event, again, i end where i began. we can only pray for those families who have lost their loved ones. we don't know what comfort we can be to them expect -- except that we are sad for them and praying for them. the many people who are diagnosed, hopefully we can get the resources to them that they need, whether it is a ventilator or a first responder, or a public health person. and we will be talking about that more tomorrow in the speaker's weekly press conference. but for today, it's about our responsibility to do justice to those first responders, many of them health-care workers, all of them heroes. risk their lives to save other people's lives. and now many of them will lose their jobs because of the lack of resources. in addition to which the lack of ppe for them to do their jobs well.
so, in sadness to those who lost their lives, in hope for those who are diagnosed, with respect to our heroes, let us be worthy of them by doing this in as nonpartisan away as possible. we could not be better in that regard. our distinguished whip, mr. clyburn. thank you all very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, a discussion of osha's role in protecting workers during the
with formerpandemic assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, david michaels. then we will talk with congressman david rouser about the effect the pandemic is having on the nation's food supply and meat processing industry. somee will discuss why people get sicker than others with the coronavirus. "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern thursday morning. be sure to watch sunday at 9:00 a.m. for a look back 50 years to the antiwar student protest at kent state, which erupted into a deadly confrontation between students and the ohio national guard. >> television has changed since c-span began 41 years ago, but our mission continues. to provide an unfiltered view of government. already, we have brought you
primary election coverage, the presidential impeachment process, and now the federal response to the coronavirus. you can watch all of c-span's public affairs programming on television, online, or listen on every radio app. the part of the national conversation through "washington journal" or through our social media feed. created by private industry, america's cable television companies, as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. federal reserve chair jerome federal reserve chair jerome powell said the central bank will use its monetary policy tools to keep the economy going. during his news conference wednesday, chairman powell indicated that interest rates will remain low for the time being and suggested that more federal stimulus might be needed to respond to the impact of the virus on the economy.