Pelosi calls Biden's address to Congress "a triumph" for women and families

Speaker Pelosi on Biden's address to Congress
Speaker Pelosi on Biden's address to Congress... 07:44

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she felt "synergy" between her and Vice President Kamala Harris during their history-making appearance flanking President Joe Biden in his first address to a joint session of Congress

"Of course, it was exciting," she told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King Thursday. "We're there sending a message — sky's the limit for girls and women."

An image of the two women elbow-bumping quickly went viral. 

APTOPIX Biden 100 Days Congress
Vice President Kamala Harris, left, greets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., ahead of President Joe Biden addressing a joint session of Congress, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Jim Watson/Pool via AP) Jim Watson / AP

Pelosi is no stranger to shattering glass ceilings — in 2007, then-President George W. Bush applauded her as the first female speaker of the House. 

She calls this moment "more than double" the significance, adding that Mr. Biden's speech "reflected the importance" of its symbolism. 

"Violence against women, he talked about. He talked about equal pay for equal work. He talked about family and medical leave. He talked about building back better for our country, and to do so, we had to have the fuller participation of women," Pelosi said.

"That was throughout his speech. So I think it was a triumph for women, for families, for children, for all Americans."

In a speech to an unusually small gathering due to COVID-19 restrictions, the president outlined ambitious spending plans that would funnel more than $4 trillion into American infrastructure, education and strengthening the safety net for millions of people. 

Tracking President Biden's first 100 days 03:48

He also urged Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, which would set federal standards on use-of-force incidents and invest in community programs and bias training for officers. 

"We have a giant opportunity to bend to the arc of the moral universe toward justice," Mr. Biden said, asking lawmakers to get the bill passed by May 25, the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death.

Pelosi said the legislation "has been worthy of his name" and talked about the negotiations currently underway.

"I'm very proud of Karen Bass who authored the bill in the House, now working in a bipartisan way in the House and in the Senate with Senator Tim Scott and others in the Senate," she said.

Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, also gave his party's rebuttal to Mr. Biden's speech Wednesday evening. In it, he voiced Republicans' frequent criticisms of Democrats' spending proposals.

"Less than 6% of the president's plan goes to roads and bridges. It's a liberal wish-list of big government waste," Scott said in his speech. "Tonight we also heard about a so-called 'Family Plan.' Even more taxing, even more spending, to put Washington even more in the middle of your life — from the cradle, to college."

Biden lays out ambitious proposals in address... 04:00

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie likened Mr. Biden's economic agenda to giving a teenager a credit card with unlimited spending.

"That's cute, but it isn't true. But it's what they would say," Pelosi said.

While she acknowledged a "responsibility" to work across the aisle on infrastructure spending, she said Republicans were operating on a double standard.

"All of a sudden they're deficit hawks when they were giving away money to the wealthiest people in our country under President Trump," she said. "They don't mind giving a nearly $2 trillion tax break of a cost to our national debt just to give a $2 trillion gift to the richest people in America."

Putting more money into infrastructure and education she argued, would lead to more prosperity for Americans overall.

"What we're talking about here are investments," Pelosi said. "Nothing brings more money to the Treasury than the investment education."