The following is a transcript of an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that aired Sunday, January 9, 2022, on "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we want to turn our focus to what is ahead in 2022, particularly in an election year, and there is perhaps no better guest than the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Good morning to you, Madam Speaker.
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Good morning. Good morning to you, and Happy New Year.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Happy New Year. I don't think any of us wanted to start with this Omicron surge that we are seeing happen, and I know in Congress you are seeing infections spike as well N-95 masks now being given to staff. How will this surge impact the work that you are able to do in the coming weeks?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, before I go into that, I just want to say that I come here on this Sunday morning fresh from the service celebrating the life of Majority Leader Harry Reid. Two presidents of the United States spoke, the leadership of the Congress, the Vice President was there, governors, everyone; but nothing was as eloquent then the voices of his- the voices of his children who spoke about their father. So, being here in this on the Senate side, I have to begin by praising and remembering Harry Reid. COVID is- it is the center of it all. It's about the health of the American people, of course, but it's also about its impact on our economy, the education of our children, the safety of everyone at work or in school. So, the- the- I look forward to our taking advantage of advances in science on this, that there is a pill that will be able to intervene early- in early stages and we want to have the resources available to do that. The issues before the Supreme Court will be very important as two bills- excuse me, two cases there: one about health care workers, one about the president's mandate going beyond health care workers. So, there is a good deal, whether it's legislation for more resources, whether it's the court's decision and the rest. And also, it's just about our own taking personal responsibility to stay safe.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When you say legislation for more resources, six trillion has already been spent over the course of this- has been allocated over the course of this pandemic. Are you saying that you need more coronavirus relief, and will that go in the spending bill when government funding runs out next month?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, the- again, we have to protect the investment that is there. Most importantly, we have to protect the health of the American people. Now, the administration has not made a formal request for more funding, but it is clear from the opportunity that is there. And the- again, the challenge that is there from the resilience of this virus, and viruses are, the more they spread, they are transmitted, the more they mutate. So the good advice for everyone to get vaccinated, to be masked, to have spatial distancing and the rest and to be tested, tested, tested continue to be important.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When you have this government funding deadline, Feb. 18, I believe it is you have that opportunity to bundle together, perhaps some other things here. Will you try to extend the child care tax credit at that time since it has expired?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, that's a different bill.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SPEAKER PELOSI: That- that- that is in the Build Back Better legislation in the- the appropriations bill, which is to keep government open. We are in those negotiations now under leadership in our House of Rosa DeLauro, our distinguished chair of the Appropriations Committee, and we must find a solution. Now, I'm an appropriator, that's my culture in Congress appropriations and intelligence, and I believe that left to their own devices on both sides of the aisle that the appropriators can get the job done. The- something like additional funding can be in there. It can be- can be fenced off for emergencies, as would be COVID.--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SPEAKER PELOSI: –The- the child tax credit, we have to have that fight- that discussion in the Build Back Better legislation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you won't be pulling that out as any kind of standalone or any kind of attachment at this point?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, I would hope to. But in order to do this, in order to pass the Build Back Better, it's under reconciliation, we only need 51 votes. The bill that is the reconciliation- the appropriations bill requires 60 votes in the Senate, so we have to do what is possible.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the- Sen. Manchin has made clear it's not possible at this point. It sounds like you are trying to revive those talks, are you- where is that? Have you spoken to the senator?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, I have spoken to the senator over time. I do think there's an agreement to be reached. It's so important for our country, whether we're talking about right now the need for childcare for moms and dads whose children may or may not be in school. Childcare is so important all the time. More important, even now, when we're talking about universal pre-k and childcare and we're talking about the Child Tax Credit, we're talking about home health care. All of those things, expanding the Affordable Care Act to include those who were not expanded under Medicaid in some of those states. But in addition to that, we see weather- and that weather it's telling us that we must do what is in the bill to address the climate crisis, which is causing so many unusual natural disasters. Not all of them from climate but exasperated by it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the- the White House is putting its shoulder behind this push for voting rights and election law versus Build Back Better in the coming days, at least. I want to ask you when you look around the country, there are many states that are changing their own election laws, and it could increase the chance for partisan interference when it comes to certifying an election outcome. Have you thought about that scenario for these midterm races? Would you commit to seating an elected person if- if their election is not certified in the state that they are elected out of? I mean, regardless of the outcome, will you seat them?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, first, let's get the bill passed. I- I think that the order of things is very appropriate. There's nothing more important for us to do than protect our constitution and our democracy. What the Republicans are doing across the country is really a legislative continual- continuation of what they did on Jan. 6, which is to undermine our democracy, to undermine the integrity of our elections, to undermine the- the voting power, which is the essence of a democracy. So, we have to do that bill that is no more important bill that enables us to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.--
MARGARET BRENNAN: There are not the votes in the Senate for that at this point. So I'm– how will you handle–
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, we just have to keep working on that. Just have to keep working.-
MARGARET BRENNAN: –But have you thought- have you thought about that scenario because it is a potential scenario for these upcoming races where you have this dispute at the state level? How will you handle that?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, it isn't a question of how we will handle something a year from now. What is important right now is how we protect and defend the Constitution and the voting rights. What they are doing and as you pointed out very clearly, and I thank you for that, that they are not only suppressing the vote, suppressing the vote, they are nullifying elections, saying, well it doesn't matter who gets more votes, it matters who the three people we appoint to analyze that, what they decide. We cannot let that happen. And in this legislation- thank you for taking us down this path, in this legislation there stiffened penalties for what they are doing to election officials, what they are doing and threatening elected officials. This is a very major threat on our democracy. This legislation is the most important and we have to keep working in order to get the job done right because it is as- as vital as any legislation we could ever pass.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we are going to be talking about election integrity later in the program. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for your time this morning.
SPEAKER PELOSI: It's my pleasure to be with you. Happy New Year.
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