Pelosi: Everything In $3 Trillion Bill Is Coronavirus-Centric, "Deadly" To Use It For Any Other Purpose | Video | RealClearPolitics

Pelosi: Everything In $3 Trillion Bill Is Coronavirus-Centric, "Deadly" To Use It For Any Other Purpose

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN's Jake Tapper on Tuesday that everything in the new $3 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal is coronavirus-centric and also in a "timely way that relates to the virus." Pelosi said, "it would be an endless amount of money if we put our wish list for the future in there."

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST:  Bipartisan frustration and outrage expressed on the Senate side of Capitol Hill today about the availability and capacity for widespread testing here in the United States. This comes after President Trump declared yesterday that the U.S. has prevailed on testing. 
 
Joining me now is the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
 
Madam Speaker, thanks so much for joining us. 
 
I know you have unveiled a $3 trillion relief bill that would include billions for testing. Were you satisfied by the administration's pledge this morning of 40 to 50 million tests a month, if necessary, by September?
 
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  No. You have to do much more than that. And I think that they know that.
 
They -- it has to be at least double that, maybe 2.5 times that. And the sooner we do it, the better. It is a decision to open up the economy, testing, tracing, treatment, isolation if necessary.
 
And to do that, we have to make a commitment to do it, as we do in our bill. 
 
When you hear the Senate hearing today, testing, testing, testing, and as the distinguished Democratic -- top Democrat on the committee, Senator Murray, said, you have to have a detailed plan. You have to have a definite plan on how to get this done.
 
We have put that forth in our bill with the -- with everything that goes with it, and with the ethic, value that it's going to be there for everyone, not only the testing, the tracing, and the treatment, but also whatever vaccine or therapies God sends us and science produces, that they will be accessible to everyone in our country as well.
 
TAPPER:  Right. 
 
So, let's talk about this bill. Your Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, called it a liberal wish list of a bunch of items that you wanted to have passed even before the coronavirus pandemic happened. 
 
What's your response to that? 
 
PELOSI:  Well... 
 
TAPPER:  I mean, is this very specifically coronavirus-focused –
 
PELOSI: Yes.
 
TAPPER:  --  or are there things in here that have nothing to do with it? 
 
PELOSI:  He knows that that’s -- what he said isn't so.
 
But, putting that aside -- I can't be bothered about what others say. 
 
What I'm concerned -- what I'm proud of is what we are doing. And the fact is that, in all four of the bills that have passed before, they have all been bipartisan. And we have all in our caucus have agreed that everything is coronavirus-centric and also in a timely way that relates to the virus. 
 
It's too deadly to our lives, to our livelihood, to our democracy for us to use it for any other purpose. So, the money for state and local is to allay the cost of the -- defray the cost of the outlays they have made for coronavirus and the revenue lost because of the coronavirus, testing, testing. 
 
The three pillars, honor our heroes by supporting our state and local entities, so that they don't lose their jobs, these heroes don't lose their jobs, open up government by testing, tracing, treatment, et cetera. And the third is putting money in the pockets of the American people, all of it timed and centric to the coronavirus. 
 
We -- we -- it would be an endless amount of money if we put our wish list for the future in there. But that is not what the case is.
 
And, sometimes, I get a little heat from my own folks, who say, why can't we do this in this bill and that in the -- because that's not what the bill is about. This bill is for this purpose.
 
TAPPER:  Right. 
 
PELOSI:  And it's a big price, but it's a big problem.
 
And the chairman of the Fed said, think big, because the interest rates will never be lower. And so we are -- they have used the interest rates to give confidence that credit will be available, because the interest rates are low.
 
We want those same interest rates. And they use it to bolster the stock market. We want to use it to bolster the American people. I'm very proud of the work of my chairmen.
 
TAPPER:  So, I want you to take -- I want you to take a listen to what New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo had to say today about what he wants in the next stimulus bill.
 
PELOSI:  Yes. 
 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
 
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY):  It has to be a smart piece of legislation this time.
 
What does that mean? No handouts to greedy corporations, no political pork, and no partisanship. You can't -- sometimes -- there has to be a time in history when the federal government is willing to stop playing partisan politics.
 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
 
TAPPER:  So, no partisanship, and yet the House Republicans sound like they oppose this bill. The Senate Republicans oppose this bill.
 
The White House, it doesn't sound like they're supporting this bill. That sounds partisan to me. Am I wrong?
 
PELOSI:  Well, it may be partisan on their part, but it's not partisan on our part to meet the needs of the American people.
 
But let me reiterate, these -- we passed four bills, all of them bipartisan. This is the fifth bill. And much of the essence of this bill, the three pillars, have a provenance in the previous bills.
 
We have had state and local in there. We have had direct payments to people and unemployment insurance to people. And we have had testing. Our first bill March 4th was testing, testing, testing. Our most recent bill that passed had $25 billion for testing.
 
So, all of these spring in a bigger way, nonetheless, because there's bigger commitment to testing and to meeting the needs of localities. So, the -- again, it's all been bipartisan. I hope that it will be.
 
I think there's great bipartisan support throughout the country from governors and mayors about the state and local provisions that are in the legislation.
 
Scientists all agree we can't open unless we test. That's not even partisan. That's -- that's scientific. And you even heard the chairman and the top Democrat on the committee say, we haven't -- what we have done is not nearly adequate.
 
And then, again, meeting the needs of the American people. When the Republicans say, we need a pause, as I keep saying, there's no pause in hunger and rent and your bills, and -- or no pause in the agony of not having a job because of this terrible situation.
 
So, we feel very proud of the prioritizing, curating of the issues that we have, so that they meet the needs of the American people very directly, and that it is a very defensible bill. Everything in it is for the purpose of getting -- opening up our government, helping people in the meantime, and defeating, defeating this virus, as we honor our heroes who are working so hard, risking their lives to save lives.
 
TAPPER:  OK. 
 
House Speaker Nancy -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thank you so much for your time.
 
PELOSI:  My pleasure.
 
TAPPER:  Stay healthy. Good to see you, as always.



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