Transcript: Press briefing remarks by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after a White House meeting on the government shutdown on Oct. 2, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after a White House meeting on the government shutdown on Oct. 2, 2013:

…On March 1st, we saw many of you out here after we had a meeting in the oval office with President Obama. At that time, Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell said that they wanted to proceed on a budget discussion under the regular order – a Washington term which means you pass a bill in the House, you pass a bill in the Senate, you go to conference.

All of that was March 1st. Before the end of the month, the House and the Senate both passed a bill but the Republicans have resisted the regular order. For six months, they have avoided going to conference.

So now they come up with their suggestion of $986 [billion] or $988 [billion] – the figure varies – $988 [billion] which is a figure that our members in the House do not like, think that it’s far too low, and the Republican Chairman of the Appropriations Committee said it does not enable government to provide for the needs of the American people.

But nonetheless, having said that, over 100 members of the House Democrats stood on the steps of the Capitol today and made a solid real offer to the Speaker of the House to accept his number, which they don’t like and they don’t respect, but for the purpose of opening up government and going to the next step.

All we have to do is bring it up, pass it in the House, it comes to the President’s desk, government is open. Then we go to the table as the Leader’s suggest on the budget, and some of that discussion can be helpful in terms of addressing growth, debt, deficit reduction, and how we go forward on lifting the debt ceiling.

So we’d just have to find a way and we have to find a path that they can go down. But if they keep moving the goal post and won’t even accept their own number – as the Leader said, if they don’t take yes for an answer, then I could only conclude that they wanted to shut down government, that they think that that has a purpose for them, and we know what that is – they want to overturn the Affordable Care Act. That’s not going to happen. And frankly, that’s not what our Constitution had in mind – if you don’t like something, you threaten to shut down the government. It’s not that kind of a system.

So in any event, ever optimistic, because so much is at stake, I’m hopeful that in the conversation we heard each other and that we will be able to find a place to go, as the Leader suggests, to the budget table six months after we were supposed to in order to discuss the budget that can be helpful. Because the next challenge is lifting the debt ceiling.

It was a worthwhile meeting. I’m glad it was held. We had a – shall we say – some candid discussion…and we won’t go into that.


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