House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) slammed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday for blaming Democrats’ policies for skyrocketing inflation rates.
Host George Stephanopoulos noted that inflation, which is at its highest levels in 40 years, is costing the average American family approximately $275 a month.
Pelosi gave a long-winded response to Manchin’s remarks before claiming, “it’s not right — with all the respect in the world for my friend, Joe Manchin — it’s not right to say what we’re doing is contributing to the inflation because it is exactly the opposite.”
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: We’re joined now by the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Madam Speaker, thank you for coming in again this morning.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): My pleasure. Good morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, we — you just saw those reports right there.
The White House is warning of an imminent invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainians seem to think that that’s all hype.
Are — do you believe that Putin is poised to invade?
PELOSI: Well, I think we have to be prepared for it. And that is what the president is — yes, I do believe that he is prepared for an invasion.
I also understand why the President of Ukraine wants to keep people calm and that he wants his economy not to suffer. But, on the other hand, if we were not threatening the sanctions and the rest, it would guarantee that Putin would invade. Let’s hope that diplomacy works.
It’s about diplomacy deterrence. Diplomacy deterrence. And the president’s made it very clear. There’s a big price to pay for Russia to go there. So if Russia doesn’t invade, it’s not that he never intended to. It’s just that the sanctions worked.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you convinced that President Biden is doing everything he can to prevent an invasion? Is Congress doing everything you can to prevent an invasion?
PELOSI: Well, look, I’m very proud of the work the president has done. The unity of our allies and NATO to come to an agreement as to the severity of the sanctions is very, very important. And that is — that is something that Putin should pay very close attention to.
Actually, our allies in Europe can suffer sometimes from some of the sanctions because of the impact it has on them, and yet they are there fully on the sanctions front. Yes, we in Congress — the sanctions are the tactic the president is taking. He can do that by executive order. It would be better if we could do it —
STEPHANOPOULOS: What should President Putin know from you, the Speaker of the House, about the consequences of an invasion?
PELOSI: Well, the fact is, is that we think that an assault on Ukraine is an assault on democracy. And that we are not — we understand the loss of life, the damage, the collateral damage to civilians, to military, and the rest are severe, if he decides to invade.
The mothers in Russia don’t like their children going into war. He’s (ph) had to experience that, forgive the expression, body bag from the moms before. So he has to know that war is not an answer. There are very severe consequences to his aggression, and that we are united in using them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about the situation here at home. Families are feeling the hit from the highest inflation in 40 years. Right now, it costs the average American family about $275 a month. What can Congress do right now to bring those costs down?
PELOSI: Well, let me just talk about the inflation then. Because people are saying, well, what we’re spending is causing — the fact that people have jobs always contributes to increase in inflation. That’s a good thing. But inflation is not a good — you know, we have to contain that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Wages are not keeping up with prices.
PELOSI: That’s right. And let me just say about what Congress has been doing. When we did the COMPETES Act last — what contributes to inflation? More people having jobs, scarcity of products, which makes the prices go up, and the rest. So when we passed the COMPETES Act last Friday, this was a giant step forward. Now we have to go to conference with the Senate and we will shortly. We’ll send it to the president’s desk. But what that does is addresses the supply chain shortages that we have, and therefore, will decrease inflation.
Secondly, it’s important to note this about the BBB, the BBB is a deficit reduction bill. It’s a bill that — some people say when you increase the national debt, you increase inflation. Seventeen Nobel laureates wrote that the — the way the BBB was written with long-term investments and increasing the capacity of people to participate in our success is noninflationary.
In addition to that, the tax — the Joint Tax Committee, which is the imprimatur (ph) on all these issues, the Joint Tax Committee says that BBB will reduce the national debt by $100 billion in the first 10 years and $1 trillion in the second 10 years. So what we are doing is, what are the three effects (ph)? More people going to work. That’s a good thing. More product to lower the cost, you know, the supply side of — the supply and more supply, lower costs.
And then third, and — third, the terms of not increasing the national debt.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But as you know, Senator Manchin, who is the senator that matters right now because he’s against it, disagrees. He said it’s going to hurt inflation. Let’s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN, (D-WV): This is not a time to be throwing more fuel on the fire. We have an inflate — we have inflation and we have, basically, an economy that’s on fire. You don’t throw more fuel on the fire that is already on fire causing the problems that we have. So we’ve got to get our house in order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Without his vote, this isn’t going anywhere.
PELOSI: Well, the fact is, is that — clearly, he has — you know, look, Joe Manchin, as you said, is the senator who counts, every senator counts. And we have legislation that is so transformative for our country.
When you see what President Biden has done in this year, whether it’s the rescue package that has put money in people’s pockets, taking people off poverty, vaccines in their arms and the rest, you know that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, but people aren’t feeling it right now. They’re upset.
PELOSI: No, I understand that. No, I understand that, but there has to be a cumulative effect, a cumulative effect.
And part of the consequences of all of that investment, the infrastructure bill and the rest, is that more people have jobs and, therefore, inflation goes up. When I first went to Congress, you were there working for Dick Gephardt —
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE) Dick Gephardt.
PELOSI: Yeah. We go all the way back. I went to my first meeting where the head of the Fed came in to talk about inflation and unemployment. That was a requirement that the chairman reported to Congress on that. And the first thing Chairman Greenspan said was, unemployment is dangerously low.
Well, if you’re just measuring it by inflation. But the fact is, that the rise in employment and President Biden has nearly 7 million jobs in his year in office.
So, yes, we have inflation. It’s very important for us to address it. We must bring it down.
And — but is not — it’s not right — with all the respect in the world for my friend, Joe Manchin — it’s not right to say what we’re doing is contributing to the inflation because it is exactly the opposite.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The other thing that is weighing —
PELOSI: Seventeen Nobel laureate, the Joint Tax Committee.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The other thing that’s weighing on people right now is rising crime. And there appear to be some divisions among Democrats about how to handle it. Your colleague Karen Bass, running for mayor of Los Angeles, trying to increase the police force in L.A.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Cori Bush, congresswoman from Missouri, is saying it’s time to defund the police. She’s sticking by that.
You’re the speaker, how do you think Democrats should address rising crime?
PELOSI: Well, with all the respect in the world for Cori Bush, that is not the position of the Democratic Party. Community safety, to protect and defend in every way, is our oath of office.
And I have sympathy — I — we’re all concerned about mistreatment of people. And that’s why Karen Bass had the Justice and Policing Act. And we would hope to get some of that done, whether it’s no-knock, chokehold, or some of those issues, even if we can’t get it all done.
But the — but make no mistake, community safety is our responsibility. And I told one my colleagues from New York, Ritchie Torres, a brand new member of Congress, way on the Left, saying that defund the police is dead. That causes a concern with a few in our caucus.
But public safety is our responsibility. And I support what Karen Bass is doing and Mayor Adams of New York.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Inflation, the rising crime are both weighing down on President Biden’s approval ratings. Right now, they’re weighing down on Democrats as we head into the midterms.
You say you’re going to run again this year. But 29 of your fellow Democrats are not running for re-election.
How worried are you about the midterms right now?
PELOSI: I — I don’t agonize. I organize. And we are fully intent to win this election. Nothing less is at stake.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about debunking history?
PELOSI: Well, forget history. We’re talking about future, you know? And when people say, well, the history says that the presidents lose seats in the off year. Presidents gain seat only (INAUDIBLE).
We didn’t gain seats when President Biden won. We worked together to win the Senate, win the House, and win the White House. It was cumulative, but it wasn’t an increase.
And one of the reasons that, in part, the president’s party loses seats in the off years because they gain so many in the on-year. We won 40 seats in ’18, 31 in Trump districts. In this year with Trump on the ballot, we lost a third of those Trump seats.
However, the people who survived in those Trump seats with Trump on the ballot are in very good shape.
We take nothing for granted. We intend — by redistricting, which did not do us harm, as people predicted, history and all that, by recruitment, great people coming forward believing that we can win, with raising of money and attracting the support, and about raising interest in the volunteers. We have every intention every single day to do everything in our power. We have decided to win and that’s what we will do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, if you maintain control, are you going to run for speaker again?
PELOSI: That’s not a question. My purpose right now is just to win that election. It’s to win that election. Nothing less is at stake than the — our democracy.
But, very important in all that is what it means personally to the American people, to their kitchen table issues. Whether it’s whether they’re going to be able to pay for food, for medicine, for rent, children’s education, and the rest. So, our focus that unifies our Democrats — you talked about what may have divided a few of them. What unifies us is the — is the empathy that we have for America’s working families and the priority of meeting their needs.
Lower cost, bigger paychecks, lower taxes, all paid for by making everyone pay their fair share with a great president. I think his message — see, when we won in ’06 and ’08, we were left to our own devices. Just us kids. We didn’t have a Democrat in the White House. Now we do. So even stronger in ability to win. And who is more empathetic than Joe Biden? Who has more — a bigger vision, more knowledge, more strategic thinking about all this, more authenticity in associating with America’s working families?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Madam speaker, thanks for your time this morning.
PELOSI: Yes. Onward to a great Democratic victory (ph). Thank you.
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