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Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Remarks at Care Can’t Wait Press Event on Building Back Better

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Members of Congress, MomsRising, the Care Can’t Wait coalition and other advocates for a press event highlighting Build Back Better Act provisions that invest in America’s care economy infrastructure.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much for your kind introduction. 

I come here not just as Speaker, but, as I said to my Caucus yesterday, I rise here as probably the person who has changed the most diapers in the Congress of the United States. 

[Laughter]

Of my own children, I’m talking about. 

[Laughter]

And it is with this – the understanding of the fact that care can’t wait!

[Applause]

Moms and dads who have responsibilities at home know that when children are learning, parents can be earning.  And that is what we – a path we have to be on. 

I want you to know how important you – all of this is – to Fatima, to Kristin, to Ai-jen, to all of you who have, all of you who are part of this outside mobilization e can only do so much, so well with our inside maneuvering.  What you were doing on the outside, this very minute, and on the ongoing is really very important.  Again, we can get our best result if you, our VIPs, our Volunteers In Policy – sometimes in politics, but we’re not politics today.  You, our VIPs.  

And this is something that we are so close on.  Our three buckets for the children: jobs – for jobs, lower costs – prescription drug costs, tax cuts for the middle class by addressing our children with a tax – the Child Tax Credit.  Doing all this by having it paid for by those who should be paying their fair share.  Creating good-paying jobs for our country. 

But, For The Children – coming to near-total coverage with expanding of the – expanding of Medicaid in the states that don’t have it, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, expanding benefits for Medicare in the health bucket.

In the climate bucket, For The Children – how many children should we be protecting from asthma and the rest?  With clean air, clean water and the rest.  To give them a planet, passing it on in a worthy way For The Children.  And the children understand that.  They know more about this than most of the Members on the other side of the aisle, in terms of what we have to do on climate.  And that will be a major commitment that we will pass. 

And then the third: the care – the care can’t wait.  For all of these combined, but the care piece is the most transformative, because it enables women to take their rightful place in the workplace.  Dads, too – but again, the caregivers, largely, are moms or women.  Whether it’s a mom of a child, or a mom – a daughter of a mom who needs care. 

And it’s not just about providing that care to free women to go to work.  It’s about respecting the caregivers.  In my view, I want them to – Ai-jen, I want them to be unionized, but to respect their work, give them the training, the pay, the recognition, the respect that they deserve. 

[Applause]

And it’s so essential to this, whether it’s children or child care, child care, universal pre-K, in that bucket or whether it’s in the home care bucket or how they overlap – very, very essential.  And of course, I mean, it’s a complete mystery to me how anybody can be opposed to paid family, parental, medical leave, paid leave.  What is it you don’t get about that?  

Last weekend, I was at the G20, right before that the G7, the NATO on Monday.  And when I explained to them what we’re doing, they’re like, ‘You mean you don’t have that already?’  Every developed country in the world respects what we need to do for our children, for our families, for our seniors, for people with disabilities and the respect for the workers who provide that, as well as simple to understand – paid family and medical leave. 

[Applause]

So, with workforce development and recognizing the importance of housing and education, all of that in that bucket.  We’re making the fight.  And it will be the biggest, biggest initiative we’ve ever passed in the Congress, dollars-wise and scope.  

We still have much more to be done.  So, we’re just – Joe Biden, God bless him because he has this big vision, knowledge about the issues.  He wrote the bills, strategic in terms of reaching out to people to help get their support, authentic in his commitment to this.  And he’s never going to stop until we get the full program.  I, myself, mourn than the fact that we don’t have the 3.5 [trillion dollars].  But even half of that is bigger than anything we’ve done before.  And it would be a good first step, a good first step. 

So, I thank all of you – the Care Can’t Wait coalition that is here.  I mean, Kristin, we’ve worked with MomsRising on so many of these issues individually over time.  Thank you.  Thank you always, Kristin.  And again, Ai-jen Poo, she has taught us so much about how we need to not only pay well and train well, respect well, but on how to get the job done.  Fatima, thank you so much for your leadership.  But all of you, Elreka, Senator Casey is going to be here, Fatima, so, so many of our colleagues who will be here.

But understand this: we are united under the Care Can’t Wait agenda.  I’m going to go there right now to continue the meetings to get the job done.  And the sooner the better, because Care Can’t Wait. 

Audience.  Care Can’t Wait. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Our children can’t wait either.

So, thank you all for what you do.  Let’s get the job done, and let’s make history!

[Applause]

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