Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Committee Chairs for a press event unveiling the Protecting Our Democracy Act, House Democrats’ landmark reforms package to prevent presidential abuses, restore checks and balances, strengthen accountability and transparency and protect elections. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Chairman Schiff, for your great leadership and your excellent statement. I associate myself fully with your remarks.
And I come to this podium to thank the chairs for the great work that they have done to protect our democracy. Adam Schiff, who’s led us in this discussion; Chairman Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee; Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney of the Oversight and Reform Committee; Chairman John Yarmuth of the Budget Committee; Chair Zoe Lofgren, who will be with us virtually shortly, Chair of the House Administration Committee; Chairman Eliot Engel from Foreign Affairs; and Chairman Richie Neal, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.
Our Founders, in their wisdom, put guardrails into the Constitution of the United States because they knew that someone might overplay his or her hand. They probably could not envision a president who would kick over the guardrails and that the Senate of the United States would be complicit in that undermining of the Constitution of the United States, ignoring, dishonoring the oath of office that we all take to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and everything that the Constitution stands for.
During this once in a generation moment, the Congress has a sacred obligation, For The People, to defend the rule of law and restore accountability and basic ethics to the government. And that is exactly what we are doing with [the Protecting] Our Democracy Act. This legislative package is sweeping in design to address the President’s staggering litany of abuses and ensure that they can never happen again by anyone. This package is future-focused, intended to ensure checks and balances, not only during this term but for any future president.
Our chairs have crafted a robust reforms package that can stand up and prevent an assault on our democracy, including abuse of the pardon power – the distinguished Mr. Schiff talked about, the soliciting of foreign interference in U.S. elections, the retaliatory attacks on whistleblowers, politicization of rules – the tools of justice, abuse of office for personal, for personal enrichment and contempt of Congress’s oversight powers on behalf of the American people, including our lawful subpoena power. This is essential to our Constitution, our system of checks and balances, separation of powers, one branch – each branch of government having a check on other branches of government. It is sad that the President’s actions have made this legislation necessary. As with other things, he gives us no choice.
For centuries, our presidents have shown a respect for the rule of law and the norms and the institutions that uphold our democracy. Now, America has a choice: to repair and strengthen our democracy or to look the other way and enable its actions. Enablers, that’s what those who support the President’s actions are: enablers of undermining the Constitution of the United States.
Let us recall the words of Benjamin Franklin. We’ve quoted them over and over. On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, he came out onto the steps of, now called, Constitution Hall as our Constitution was adopted. As he descended the steps, people asked, ‘Dr. Franklin, Dr. Franklin. What do we have? A republic or a monarchy?’ He said, as you know, ‘A republic, if we can keep it.’
This Congress – Article I of the Constitution, the Legislative branch, the first branch of government – will uphold our solemn duty to keep our republic, including by passing this bill.
With that, I’m very pleased to yield to the distinguished Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who has been a champion for decades on upholding our oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, Chairman Nadler.
As I bring on Congresswoman Maloney, I want to join the distinguished Chairman in acknowledging legislation of other Members of Congress that are contained in the Chairman’s legislation, that they are putting forth – and Chairwoman’s.
And I also want to acknowledge Maxine Waters is doing some very important work on this subject, not part of this package, but part of preserving our democracy.
With that, I’m pleased to yield to the distinguished Chairwoman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Madam Chair Carolyn Maloney.
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