Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Anderson Cooper on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss the urgent need for the Senate to take up the House-passed Heroes Act, the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic response and other news of the day.
ANDERSON COOPER: Two items tonight breaking on Capitol Hill, where the Congressman Louie Gohmert has tested positive for COVID and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instituting a mask mandate for Members on the Floor. You could see it playing out in a video of Members voting late today, their faces covered, following the rules and modeling healthier behavior, certainly than many have lately. That said, the mandate literally only covers so much. The problem of testing, of course, remains very real.
Joining us now, the Speaker herself, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California. Madam Speaker, thank you so much for being with us.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Thank you.
COOPER: This new mandatory mask mandate that you’ve instituted for the House chambers, my understanding, it doesn't apply to the House office buildings or hallways. Would you like it to and do you think it should extend to both chambers, frankly, or the entire Capital complex?
PELOSI: Well, yes, what – the proclamation I made today applies to the hall of the House. The Members cannot come on to the Floor of the House unless they have a mask and I, as Speaker, have directed the Sergeant at Arms, the Capitol police to refuse exit – entry into the hall if people don't have on a mask, a mask, and we have masks there for them.
The Sergeant at Arms will issue the regulations and the rest probably tomorrow and, with it, what goes with it for the other rooms in the Capitol, other – what happens in the other office buildings that are on Capitol Hill. So that expanded announcement won't — probably happen tomorrow...
Anderson Cooper. Yeah, is there any progress on any kind of further steps toward coming to a consensus on what happens next in terms of helping working people, helping people on unemployment and helping people who are in desperate straits right now?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, central to that is to get rid of this virus, and that's why I keep coming back to the fact we can open our economy, we can improve the situation, if we follow science. But if you don't believe in science and you don't believe in governance, as they don't seem to, then that makes it more problematic.
So, in terms of our conversations, we have to fundamentally agree that central to solving our problem is solving the virus to the extent that we can. We have three main pillars that are state and local government to honor heroes, health care providers, our first responders, sanitation, transportation, food, all of the services that people need that are provided by state and local.
They have said, ‘Zero.’ ‘Zero.’ It can't be. It can't be. And by the way, it’s much less than they spent to give tax cuts to the top one percent in our country, 83 percent of the benefits going to the top one percent. Now, all of a sudden, it’s the money.
In addition to that, we have the testing, which I described, and then put money in the pockets of the American people. While they have a disdain or sort of a condescension toward working people it seems because they don’t trust how they might use the $600. That kind of thing. ‘Oh, they have money to pay the rent. They are just not paying the rent.’ Well, that – we cannot operate if we're not even stipulating to a basic set of facts: the people are hurting, that unemployment is high and that we have a way to address this in terms of honoring heroes, testing, tracing, treatment as well as money in the pockets of the American people, being respectful of them and understanding their needs.
People are hungry. Millions of children are food insecure in our country, and we can't get them to do food stamps and women, infant and children food feeding programs and the rest of that.
We have a – we still have a long way to go, but we're determined that we will try to find common ground. We need the public to weigh in about the need to support state and local government and all the people who serve the communities. You can't open schools; state and local government supply over 90 percent of the funding for schools.