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Charles Schumer
  House Speaker Pelosi Senate Minority Leader Schumer Hold News Conference...  CSPAN  September 17, 2020 6:13pm-7:03pm EDT

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live at 7:00 p.m.. >> president trump will be in wisconsin this evening to talk to supporters of his re-election campaign beginning at 9:00 eastern at c-span. now house speaker nancy pelosi and senate democratic leader chuck schumer talk about new prospects of a new relief package and senator schumer talks about vaccine development and the use of masks. his is about 50 minutes.
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ms. pelosi: good morning, everyone. we gather at a very sad time for our country. in another day or so, we will go past the 200,000 mark of those who have died from the coronavirus. millions of people infected. it didn't have to be that way. we extend our sympathy and our condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones, the families who have suffered from the infection and are still dealing with that.
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this virus has also had an impact on the economy of our country. and it is very clear that until -- this is said by the chairman of the fed yesterday, the economy will come back when we have a solution of a cure to the coronavirus. we can't fully come back until then. the solution is as plain as the nose on your face. and the mask used to cover. science, science, science has provided us with a path for a long time now. those recommendations are contained in legislation that passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan way in the congress. our first bill on march 4 was
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about testing, testing, testing. and yet, the administration has failed to embrace that. but i'm not here to talk about then, we're talking about now and how we go forward. and how we go forward has been explained very clearly in our heroes act. the provisions that were provided by through energy and commerce committee under the leadership of chairman frank pallone have a clearly path of how we can help crush this virus and how we can stop its spread, how we can better open up our economy and our schools so that everyone can return to work and school safely. and i thank him for his leadership on that. and you will be hearing from him. first you will hear from jim clyburn, democratic whip of the house of representatives and chair of our select committee on
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the coronavirus crisis. and i salute him for the bright light that he is shining on how the path we are on is being conducted and how the resources we have allocated of meeting the test of what they set out to do. the work of the committee has been exemplary. all of the committee members have made a valuable contribution to the debate one way or another. we are also joined by two members of the freshmen class. both of them came to congress bringing credentials to make them good judges of how we go forward with legislation that relates to the health and well-being of the american people. lauren underwood brings her experience as a health care professional and she will talk about this, her professional work as part of the obama
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administration and her connection to the affordable care act. cars ell sman music powell will talk about sufficient testing. met her on her campaign as we visited health care institutions before the coronavirus. so her leadership on this is about the good health of the american people broadly and specifically in terms of this virus and i salute her and thank her for her leadership on this issue here. her leadership that and lauren underwood have been forward in will be an class and joined by democratic leader chuck schumer and i salute the senate democrats in calling for
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what is necessary to crush the virus. what is necessary to crush the virus so that we can go forward in a very, very positive way. with that, i'm pleased to yield to the distinguished democratic whip of the house of representatives, the chair of the committee, the select committee on the coronavirus crisis, the gentleman from south carolina, jim clyburn. mr. clyburn: thank you very much. our nation is in the midst of a public health catastrophe. we are rapidly approaching more than 200,000 confirmed american deaths. and the virus is still spreading rapidly. at the very first public briefing held by the select committee, public health experts, including two former
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f.d.a. commissioners appointed by republican presidents discussed the importance of esting, tracing and targeted containment. regrettably, more than seven months after the virus claimed its first american life, the federal government has still not yet incorporated these recommendations into a national strategy to protect the american people. back in april, the administration considered implementing a national strategy, but decided not to do so because at the time, the virus was primarily spreading in blue states. a public health expert who worked closely with the white house, coronavirus task force recalled and i quote, the
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political folks believe that the presidency was going to be relegated to states and blame those governors and that would be an effective political strategy, end of quote. just yesterday, we saw the president still employing this litical strategy, bolstering there would be fewer deaths, if you take the blue states out. that is unconscionable. instead of addressing this shortfall at a national level, the president and his political advisers are continuing to downplay the problem and undermine scientific recommendations. the select committee is investigating several instances
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of political meddling and will determine to provide the truth to the american people. n october 2, secretary azar, the secretary of h.h.s., will be appearing before the select committee. this will be the first time he has testified before congress since february. and we are going to urge him to make improvements to save erican lives the administration has prolonged this crisis in tens of thousands of preventable deaths and worsened economic devastation. make no mistake, public health experts and economists agree
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that the only way we are going to fix this economy is to stop the spread of this virus. we all hope that ar safe, effective vaccine, if found, as soon as possible. this finding must be based on sound science, not partisan politics. and we will need to ensure that the vaccine is distributed and ively, efficiently uitybly, because war science tells us is how we can save lives not based on who has the most money or the best political connections. president trump's continued
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insistence that coronavirus will is a away on its own dangerous, wishful thought. it's while past time for us to acknowledge and provide the leadership we need to fight this pandemic. congress must provide the resources needed for a national strategy and that's what the heroes act meets. it meets the needs of the american people. can am hopeful that we and get wise to the science do what is necessary to save lives and get our children back in school, get people back to work and get the economy moving again. we must get beyond this pandemic
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and that's why we are here. and with that, i'm pleased to yield to the distinguished chair of the energy and commerce committee, chairman pallone. mr. pallone: i want to commend you for all your efforts with this special committee particularly of the effort to make sure that the cares act is carried forth. and basically revealing the problem that we have had with this administration and some of the product and companies and in terms of fraud and abuse. let me also say that a day does not go by without our speaker talking about the importance of testing, testing, testing. i think the members of the caucus, they expect she is going to say the word testing from day one and that's why she is having this press conference because we want to re-emphasize the
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importance of testing and adequate funding for testing because we know that's the only way we are going to crush this virus and we are going to be able toll fully re-open the economy. what i want to stress in my time here is that the problem, the shortage of testing continues. in other words, i think a lot of people think the president says anybody can be tested, it is not true. the reality is and give you some figures. right now 800,000 tests are conducted daily when public health experts say we need to do 4 million every day to contain the virus. the states have been running out of money to do the testing. i use my own example of new jersey. when the cares act passed, we would need 1.2 billion to do the testing that was approved by the federal government for us to do.
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we only got half of that. we haven't had any money from the federal government for testing for almost two months and talk to anybody from texas, sheila jackson lee has talked to me, so many others around the state that are not able to do the testing and the contact tracing that goes along with it. and what we did in the heroes act and all of us are re-emphasizing this is to have a national strategy with clear benchmarks and clear time tables. i'm not going to read you the language, but it sets up a national plan to do the testing and contact tracing that is necessary. when i talk about the contact tracing in this context, let me give you an example in my home state. our numbers had gone down in the summer in terms of the people getting the virus. and all of a sudden, at the jersey shore in my district and
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some other players, rutgers football players and parties with kids, the contact tracing showed when the numbers started to go up, it came directly from those parties and the governor was able to take enforcement actions that we didn't have a lot of those parties. it was the contact tracing of the people that got the virus that they went back and able to find out what its source was. this is how you crush the virus. you do the testing and contact tracing and figure out what needs to be done. but the problem is that that is not happening around the country right now. and we have very uneven playing field here. when the government -- when the white house task force was basically around and they said we are going to approve state plans for testing and tracing, they set a minimum of 2%. some states were even less than
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that. some states were 2%. some were at 6%. some have gone higher. it needs to be uniform. and we have to get the supplies out. the states are not getting the supplies for this testing. they are running into shortages again and having problems with different types of testing. if you have a national plan that sets forth in the heroes act and the money that goes along with it, you will do it much more effectively and we need the money. in the heroes act, $75 billion tracing.ct testing and there is a discrepancy of over $50 billion and you can't do it unless you have the adequate resources we have in the heroes act. everyone is hoping for a vaccine. but we know that may not happen as quickly as we like. and the fact of the matter is,
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ok, we'll wait for the vaccine and have to get this testing. and let me introduce lauren underwood, one of our new members who has been very much involved in some of the provisions of the heroes act that relate to this testing issue as well. ms. underwood: that back grouped has never been more important
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when covid began to spread across our country and throughout the world. throughout this pap, we have seen the importance of trusting science and seen the unacceptable cost of rejecting it. when house democrats passed the heroes act, 124 days ago, we made an investment guided by clear evidence, the best tool that we have to contain covid-19 is a robust testing infrastructure that will allow us to identify where the virus is spreading and act swiftly to protect others from getting infected. while experts call for the united states to ramp up testing, president trump admits he directed his team to, quote, slow the testing down. and although the heroes act included $75 billion to provide our public health leaders with the testing resources that they need to keep our community safe, senate republicans won't bring
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this bill to the floor for a vote. because the president has failed to meet his responsibilities to keep americans safe from this virus and because senate republicans have thus far neglected to pursue legislation that meets the moments, our small businesses are devastated and our schools cannot re-open and 195,000 of our fellow americans have died and over 6.5 million will have a new pre-existing condition sm it didn't have to be this way. we can look at the successes of our allies around the world whose leaders didn't downplay covid-19. they listened to experts and implemented testing strategies and invested in the medical supplies that would be needed to fight this crisis. as we head into the fall and face the prospect that covid-19 transmission will worsen, we must pass the heroes act and provide the funding for testing
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initiatives that will be necessary to save lives and protect our communities. america cannot afford another day of republican inaction. thank you. and it's my honor to introduce y coleeg -- colleague. ms. mucarsel-powell: thank you my dear colleague. let me say, madam speaker, you are correct. i have spent years working on health care and walking to public health experts and i can say this, they are not political. they don't care about party affiliation and spend their entire career studying infectious diseases and how to crush down versuses like coronavirus. and i know families across the family and florida's 26th
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district are frustrated and anxious and heart broken because they lost their loved ones and we have been dealing with this virus for seven months. the administration has failed to respond to this pandemic and has lost us nearly 200,000 american lives and has plunged us into an economic recession worst than the great depression and we know that we don't have to be where we are. we know how to get this done here in the house of representatives. i want to take us back to the month of may. we asked americans to make a sacrifice to stay home, to keep their kids at home, trying to go through online learning or small businesses had to shut down because we knew we had to act swiftly. in the house of representatives, we passed the heroes act to provide the funding necessary to
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support a very comprehensive and strong public health sfrarbg to make sure we implement contact tracing, to have spaces available to quarantine those that have the virus so that we can safely re-open, so parents can feel safe to once again send their kids back to school and our small businesses whether at quarter capacity at 100% capacity could safely reopen, but unfortunately, the senate and this administration have completely turned their backs or mothers and fathers -- [speaking spanish] ms. mucarsel-powell: this virus has spread and our families and children have paid the price. take my home state of florida. because the governor took his
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cues from the president over the advice of top public health experts we became the spot spot. floridians waited for hours to be tested and waited a week, two weeks to get the results of their tests and now we have marked over 13,000 floridians who have lost their lives. so, yes, i cannot help but agonize how avoidable this tragedy was, but we can't wish this virus doesn't exist. we need what to do to crush are coronavirus and get people back to work and make sure that parents feel safe to send their parents back to school. all of these answers lie in the heroes act which has the tools the e us $75 billion for testing capability that health experts have recommended for
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months. with the heroes act, we know we can contain the virus and reopen our schools and businesses safely and regain the trust of those who want to visit our beautiful state of florida so we can get america back on track. at is this administration is disrespectful. what we need right now is to pass the heroes act. and we need that now. thank you. ms. pelosi: thank you, my colleagues, for your statements and our approach of how we protect all americans. when you talk about the administration ignoring the facts and the senate, that means the republicans in the senate. we are proud of leadership of leader schumer. proud of all the senate democrats for recognizing the need for us to base our
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decisions on science, science, science, and that means testing, testing, tracing, treatment, mask wearing, separation, ventilation, you name it. the scientists have made it clear what we need to do to crush the virus and real champion in doing that is our distinguished democratic leader from the senate and always a pleasure toll welcome him over to the house side where we had any of us serving with him for mr years. mr. schumer. senator schumer: thank you. thank you, speaker pelosi. always a joy to hear you and all the things you say and put it so well, so thank you. i thank all of my colleagues. i'm sorry i didn't hear them. i did hear representative mucarsel-powell and doing a good
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job of representing my former constituents who moved to florida. when i was in congress, they said the only place i could get lected owner brooklyn was fort lauderdale. it's great to be here and testing has been the key to crushing the coronavirus early. but the trump administration totally failed to meet the moment and the virus spread out of control. you know, the first place that was hit hard was the city of new rotchell and the day it was discovered, i called up the mayor. and i said, what do you need? he said if you could get me 70,000 tests, i could test the people of new rotchell and stay isolated and the others could walk on the streets or shop in the stores. but he said because we have no
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tests, everyone has to be isolated and that story could be repeated over and over and over again throughout the country and it shows how donald trump has let this country down after donald trum's lack of leadership, the coronavirus got far worse in america than any other developed country. he denied there was a shortage and downplayed and played president obama. i cannot resist. his remarks yesterday were outrageous that if you count only -- if you don't count the people in the blue states, covid wouldn't be so bad. is that unbelievable? what does he say to someone, his governors, someone in california or new york -- you don't have a republican or democrat, new
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rsey or illinois or passed away, you don't count. we are only counting people in the red states. how a despicable man. i gave a speech on the floor that i was very, very aggregated. we have been urging testing for a long time. on march 6, i called the president up and i said what about invoking the d.p.a. he said he was going to do it. he called in someone. let's get them. three hours later, they still aren't doing it. -- defense production act. d.p.a. excuse me. thank you, mr. clyburn. the president invoked d.p.a. plants. m.p.'s, mealt
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sorry. [laughter] senator schumer: he had friends in the meat business but when it failure.esting, it was and we haven't heard of a serious plan. no plan to increase manufacturing capacity. he just left it up to the states and the hospitals and the other health care institutions to hunt and peck themselves. september 17, and president trump still doesn't have an adequate national testing strategy. so, democrats in the house joined by our senate democrats came up with the answer. the $75 billion in testing and tracing funding that is in the heroes act, these funds are essential to crush the virus and
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safely reopen schools and the economy. our senate republicans led by keeper of the grave yard, senator mcconnell and this nasty how low can you go president have refused to do it. so, to honor the nearly 200,000 lives that were lost, democrats in the house and in the senate will keep fighting for a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of all of those who have been hurt by covid and till struggling. ms. pelosi: thank you very much, mr. leader for honoring us with your presence. you have a busy schedule on the senate side. thank you for making the point so clearly, that we have a plan and that is really important for america's families to know.
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the plan has been rejected but we will further assert it. we had $75 billion in the plan that mr. pallone put forth supported by house and senate democrats, republicans said, we have 15, you have 75, let's compromise and we'll go to 16. oh, really? do you not understand the gravity of the situation? either you don't understand or you don't care. but the fact is that 200,000 people in another day or so will have lost their lives to this disregard for science. could we have saved everyone? no, but many people, yes. so our purpose here is to say to the families of america, we have a plan and we have had a plan and it's a plan that takes responsibility for testing, tracing, treatment, separation,
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ventilation, mask wearing and the rest. we know that that will save lives, that will curb the virus and crush the virus and again enable us to open our economy and our schools more safely. a number of months will go by until we get a vaccine and we all pray as mr. pallone said, we pray for a vaccine and we hope it will be soon. and mr. clyburn said we hope it will be applied to everyone ethicically in our country. can't have it one day later or one day sooner than it is ready and that means we cannot have political sbrpferns into the production or the discovery of that vaccine. we thank our scientists who are working on it. great minds in our country
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working 24/7. when we get it, we have to have an equitable distribution system to make it available to everyone. everyone needs access to that right now. the disparity of this assault of this virus on american people is appalling. hispanic child five times or hispanic person five times more likely to go to the hospital because of coronavirus because of a white child. even greater numbers for the african-american communities, it's just not right. when it comes to covid, we have o have scientific and fair treatment of all americans. testing, tracing, treatment. separation. mask wearing and the rest. relying on science. if there are any questions on
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this subject. yes, sir. just on this subject. i'll take questions on this subject. but i don't want to hold up my folks. question]ible ms. pelosi: we have compromised. we came down a trillion dollars and asked them to go up a trillion dollars, instead they went down, not recognizing the need. mr. schumer and i further went down and said we'll meet you halfway and that's where we are. since that time, my members will attest, the needs have only grown since may 15, four months ago and two days ago. and these vr only grown. some of the needs for the small
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businesses, needs for restaurants, needs for transportation and the rest. so we are have to re-allocate that money so we can meet the needs as we see them. the fact is we shouldn't be going down because we have these needs so we can open up these needs as we crush the virus. again -- we have a massive problem in our country. we have a massive problem. and they put forth not only a skinny bill and as mr. schumer bill, amace yated bill and all the senate democrats voted against it. we spent billions of dollars. look at the statement of the chairman of the fed yesterday, he attested and that is important to the stock market. and j can't we spend what it takes to shore up the middle
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class in our country. so again, when we go into negotiation for that, the allocation of the resources, but hard to see we can go any lower when you have greater needs. [indiscernible question] ms. pelosi: they don't say that, actually. they don't say it to me. we need asay to me is solution and best solution for america's working families. you may have by someone who may say, i don't care how small it
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is. i have not heard that. i'm very proud of our members. we have three kind of arenas. e, we want to bring the $3.4 trillion to the floor. others who say, we cannot bring anything to the floor unless we have an agreement, because we want it to work for the american people, and that is what we are striving for. others will say, let's put our own proposal on the floor. so you hear different things. but the fact is we want to have an agreement. and we will stay until we have an agreement. and why don't you go ask the republicans why they don't want to see the 14 million children food insecure or address the needs of american families who are on the needs of eviction or disdain for state and local governments which are our heroes, health care workers, teachers, first responders,
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police and fire, transportation, food workers, we could not function as a country without the work they do and they say, they are blue states, we are not sending money there. disdain for state and local government, which the fed says is very important to our economy. contempt for science. but we're not here to go there. we are here to say, we can stop this and we have a plan to do it. so let's do the plan that scientists and academics are putting forth, testing, tracing, reatment, are ventilation, washing your hands. let's just do what we needs to be done without contempt for science and with respect for every person in our country. i'm very excited about the dine
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nism in my caucus so that you i , it's a vitality that thrive on. so again, we are in a good place. aren't we, mr. clyburn? any of you want to respond to hat? >> i can tell you something that this pln is based like the speaker said is based on science and don't underestimate the union nan hit of our caucus. and having discussion on what other bills, if any in addition to heroes need to be addressed or studied. but don't underestimate the fact that we all want the same thing, which is to support parents that are trying to send their parents
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back to school. we need to reopen small businesses that have yet to reopen. i have local cities that are running out of money to pay for their first responders. they are not political. they make sense. we are in the middle of a pandemic. the virus is still out there. we cannot ignore the fact. we have to be safe and make sure we have the resources available so we can get our economy back on track. that's our priority. mr. clyburn: you know, in order to get food on our tables, we rely on farmworkers and rely on people who work in grocery stores. this plan of ours, the heroes .ct, takes care of these people if you want to get to and fro,
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we have transit workers. we have had them before our committee testifying to how low regard is giving to their safety. one of the nationally acclaimed stories came from a transit workers who yelled at someone who didn't have a mask on and he died two days later. thrm takes care of. mayors are laying off from their two or three hiff person police force. our plan takes care of them, not the senate plan. you know, the president keeps talking about playing it down. that's good in a golf game. when it comes to the american people, we need to play it
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clean. we need to play clean. pick and clean is the best application. ms. pelosi: thank you, to mr. malone and he brings history, and knowledge and respect for science to the proposal that he put forth. and we cannot do anything less if we expect to crush the virus. you recall about our republican colleagues to stop crushing the affordable care act instead in court and here and elsewhere and taking away the pre-existing condition benefit which is more important what we are seeing with the coronavirus. i thank the distinguished chip and assuring us as we go forward that we understand what has worked. i thank mr. pallone for the plan. it's a plan, taking
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responsibility. open up our economy and our schools safely. i'm very proud of our freshmen members who bring their knowledge of health issues in their communities and in their proceedingses. lauren underwood, thank you for your statements. deborah mucarsel-powell, two states and illinois, california, north carolina, new jersey, new york, the leader who just left, we all bring our experience to all of this. and as we mourn the loss of the 200,000, we will have appropriate remembrances in the capitol. we are leaving for the jewish ole -- holy day this weekend but we will return to pay our respects and offer our sympathies to the families who
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are affected. but i will be here. i want to say in our communities in the west, we have these wildfires which have destroyed millions of acres that have taken millions lives and in the gulf coast, we had the storms and now the rain is spreading, all of this again has a scientific answer in terms of client again, science in contempt on the part of the dministration. science knows. and science knows better. so as we go forward, let us do so. people are saying to me, as a catholic, you know it's either faith or science, choose. i say no, science is an answer to our prayers and may it bring us a vaccine soon. thank you all very much.
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[indiscernible question] ms. pelosi: i'm sorry? [indiscernible question] ms. pelosi: yes. this is the subject about the brexit as it relates to the good friday accords. way, in a bipartisan bicameralville valued the good friday accords as a value for our country. president clinton and george mitchell have worked so hard to bring peace. the last year brought a delegation led by richie neal
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chairman of the ways and means committee and also co-chair peter king as friends of ireland in the congress. and they sat there in march. and the meeting that we had yesterday was with the foreign minister of the united kingdom. we have been very clear in saying to the united kingdom, if you do harm to the good friday accords and your brexit arrangements do not count on any bilateral u.s.-u.k. trade agreement. bipartisan, bicameral support for the good friday accords. to your question, the foreign minister was very positive about the good friday accords and gave us assurances that there would be no construction or physical
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barriers at the border, but there are other issues, as you know. and we visited last year, we went last year. belfast, thein speaker of the assembly there had an enormous reception of all kids, and the two speakers were seniors in high school. protestant,, one edit both of them said we have lived our whole lives in peace because of the good friday accord. we are not going back. [indiscernible] pelosi: a meeting is a meeting. we are good friends with the ok
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-- u.k. >> [indiscernible] speaker pelosi: yes. i will not go into whether britain's word is its bond but i will say the international treaty that was signed was signed with respect for the good friday accords, and what happened on labor day, and as i told the foreign minister. it was labor day and i was thinking where is this all coming from. hours before in a different time zone, the u.k. had departed from its commitment in the treaty with the eu on the good friday accord. respectful of what
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the brits decide from themselves thataving them understand the good friday accords, any disruption of that in a serious not met -- trump was saying do not worry about eu , you can have a bilateral trade agreement with the u.s. not so fast. that is an act of congress. the chairman -- the cochair of the friends of ireland and there is bipartisan, bicameral resistance to any such bilateral. i am not going into whose word is trusted. it just was a departure from what was said in the agreement and we will see where it goes from here, making sure they understand about the bilateral, also hopeful they will reach their agreement. at the end of the year, we had a
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big event for richie o'neill, honoring him. the irish groups from all over came to honor him. that was the very day, and that the -- andy told us the prime minister had come to an agreement. we were thrilled. they were trusting and it was an additional cause for celebration. was what wasent represented, my understanding is, in the eu treaty, which was then rolled back in the statements that were made. we will see where we go from here. i think we all understand each other. thank you. >> [indiscernible]