Pelosi On Coronavirus: “I See Everything As An Opportunity”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi let her political opportunism in the wake of the coronavirus show when she said: “I see everything as an opportunity,” during an appearance on MSNBC.

“I see everything as an opportunity. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.”

Partial transcript:

Chris Hayes. That was what I was going to ask you. Because, obviously, in the previous legislation there were tough negotiations in a, sort of, triangular fashion. Steve Mnuchin sort of doing the negotiations for the White House and then Mitch McConnell in the Senate, and you and Chuck Schumer working through that. In this case, my understanding is, the message has been sent from Mitch McConnell and the White House, saying basically, ‘We’re done here.’ There was this headline today that gave me a chuckle, from Bloomberg: ‘The GOP rekindles deficit concerns, adding snag to talks on aid.’

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Is it your sense there is like – what is your read of the posture of the White House and Senate Republicans towards additional legislative rescue relief like you’re proposing?

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Speaker Pelosi. Well, it’s interesting to see what they’re saying, becoming now, renewing their fiscal hawk positions that they can barely remember. I have confidence in going big with what we do.

When I saw them give a $2 trillion addition to the national debt in order to give 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent, that was so irresponsible in terms of it did nothing for the economy except heap mountains of debt on our children.

So, with this, what we’re saying is these are investments. All of these things are for the good of helping people in their personal lives, but they also are a stimulus to the economy. Ask any – well, almost any – I don’t know who they would drum up – economist, they will tell you. Food stamps, imagine that, they’re against SNAP, against expanding the opportunity for people to have access to food stamps at a time where the papers and news is full of families in long lines at food banks, and we have to help those food banks, as well. So, this is personal. It’s heartbreaking, really.

So, I have confidence in the American people. America has a big heart, a heart full of love, and people care about each other. And I think when they see what we are doing, and it will be big because the problem is big and needs are big of the American people, that it will be more attention paid to what the Republicans are saying or doing and then a judgment can be made. But I’m optimistic always. I see everything as an opportunity, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.

Chris Hayes. Mitch McConnell has seemed to make noise to attempt – he had to walk back his comment about states going bankrupt. But he has seemed to make some attempt, which is really remarkable to me if I can editorialize for a moment, that his – the hill he is going to die on, on the red line for him is some kind of blanket liability waiver for employers so that they are protected from civil action from employees who may get sick due to the risks they take on working for them. What do you – is that a non-starter for you or something you’re willing to talk about?

Speaker Pelosi. Let me just say this, the best protection for those employers is to support what we’re doing – want to do in the bill with our OSHA regulation. And it calls for how you can open up and how you space and all the safety. Safety in the workplace is a very big issue in our country, long before coronavirus. And so, if the employer takes those precautions, then he is protected from a suit because he has taken the protections that were necessary to protect the worker. That’s how he could protect himself.

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