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Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 4373, FY 2022 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations, and H.R. 4346, FY 2022 Legislative Branch Appropriations. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. And I’m pleased to come to the Floor to salute him for his leadership as Chair of this very important Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee that makes things happen for us in the Capitol, to do the people’s business.
The United States Capitol has always been a beacon of freedom, liberty and justice to America and to the entire world. Here, lawmakers and staff, institutional workers, the Capitol Police, members of the press enable the functioning of our very democracy. It is vital that we ensure that this institution has the funding and resources needed to serve the people. The most exciting part of it is when children come to the Capitol safely, curiously, excited about seeing where laws are made, what our Founders’ vision was, and when our men and women in uniform fight to defend, as we see in their eyes their aspirations to the future, which is our charge – for the children.
That is why today I’m proud to rise in support of the Legislative Branch Appropriation Bill, which meets these needs. And thank you to Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro and Subcommittee Chair Tim Ryan for their leadership. This takes a lot of attention, a lot of specificity, meticulous attention to detail. And I thank the distinguished Chair of the Subcommittee for his brilliant attention to all of that.
This funding bill does not only fund the Leg branch; it strengthens it. It does so by advancing a more diverse and inclusive Congressional work force. It’s long been a priority for many of us to ensure that the halls of the Capitol reflect the beautiful diversity of our nation at every level. The bill provides for strong funding for paid internships to support more hardworking interns from middle class families. This has been such a priority for many of us because these internships are an opportunity for young people. We have seen this over time, where that opportunity cannot be not taken advantage of unless there’s funding for it – so thank you. It also provides funding for the Wounded Warrior program, which gives the heroes who served in uniform to serve in Congressional offices. And, proudly, it allows Dreamers to work in the Legislative branch. Our Dreamers make America more American, and it’s vital that their voices are heard here in the Capitol.
Most importantly, this bill is about security, and that is a moral imperative: funding and supporting our United States Capitol Police force, the heroes. In this legislation, we secure strong increases for the Capitol Police force, which will provide for the hiring of over 2,100 sworn officers and 450 civilian members of Capitol Police. It also improves training and bolsters wellness support for the Capitol Police, many of whom who are suffering from the January 6th domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol Complex.
Just yesterday, we heard from four heroic members of law enforcement who suffered horrible injures and trauma that day. That trauma continues – not just among the Capitol Police, not just among Members of Congress, not just among Capitol staff, Congressional staff, but those people who maintain the Capitol, who make it all work for us, custodial and maintenance people in the Capitol. Every hero of the day needs and deserves our support now that the Senate has announced their agreement on security supplemental. We will work to make sure that the needs of the Capitol and Congressional community, as concluded in the Honoré report and included here, are met. Thank you for the work that was done, Mr. Chairman, on that supplemental. Of course, what we send to the Senate is much stronger than the response we will get from them, but we must start and we must continue.
This legislation honors our heroes, it respects our values: it directs removal of statues or busts in the Capitol of Confederate traitors, as well as statues of white supremacists. As I’ve said many times, the Halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy. The statues on display should embody the highest ideals of – as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation. Removal of these statues is long overdue. That is why, as Speaker, I have led the passage of legislation now twice to do so. In fact, I took down the pictures of the Speakers in the Speaker’s Lobby months ago as an example.
At the same time, this afternoon, we are considering the Foreign Ops bill. Well, I call it ‘Foreign Ops.’ That’s the old name of it. When I was the Ranking Member, it was called ‘Foreign Ops.’ Now, it has a bigger name and a big – Democratic Chairman.
The bill makes important investments to strengthen Congress, and, therefore, strengthen America and should be passed in tandem with the Leg branch. In that spirit, I also support another appropriations bill to strengthen America: H.R. 4373, which advances our leadership in the world as it defends our values. Again, as the former Ranking Member of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Committee, I am proud of this bill, and I salute the Chair Barbara Lee: a lifelong champion of global health and human rights, including through her leadership on PEPFAR, the global fund – and – to fight AIDS.
This funding bill makes clear that, as President Biden has said, ‘America is back.’ It is a strong statement of America’s leadership in the world. With this legislation, America is once again taking the lead in the climate fight, with over $3 billion to address the climate crisis, including through first-ever appropriations to the Green Climate Fund, where [we are] setting an example on public health for the world – providing $10 billion to support families’ health around the world and prevent future pandemics, focusing on surveillance, detection and response capability.
Also in terms of public health, we are proud to be permanently repealing the Global Gag Rule: a dangerous rule that deprives the poorest families in the world a basic health care and family planning services, and we are investing billions in initiatives for maternal and child care – child health – in fighting infectious diseases including, still, HIV and AIDS through PEPFAR.
This funding honors our values by investing in human rights with the Global Equality Fund and other initiatives to support the LGBTQ community; support disability rights; gender equality and protecting persecuted religious minorities; humanitarian assistance with billions for migration and refugee initiatives and disaster assistance; protecting democracy and the rule of law around globe, and contains billions in security and economic support to partners and allies to advance peace, prosperity and stability. We are proud of its strong support for Israel, which is in our national security interests.
We are also proud of this legislation to help implement the ALLIES Act, passed last week by the House, to expedite Afghan Special Immigrant Visas. The local Afghan partners, who have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the American military and our diplomatic personnel, are heroes. They have been vital to the safety of American lives and success to our mission. We made a promise, and now we are keeping it. We must be there for them as they were for us.
The funding in these two bills demonstrate and defend American leadership at home and around the world – at home, Mr. Chairman, and around the world, and I urge a strong bipartisan ‘aye’ vote for both. I thank the leadership of Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Lee and Tim Ryan, and I yield back the balance of my time.