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Pelosi Remarks at EMILY’s List Ignite Change San Francisco Regional Lunch

San Francisco, California – Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered the following remarks at the EMILY’s List Ignite Change San Francisco Regional Lunch:

Speaker Pelosi. Good afternoon, EMILY’s List! Thank you, Yvette Nicole Brown. As your fan, I’m honored to be introduced by you. As Speaker of the House, it is my privilege to bring you the greetings – and the gratitude – of our entire House Democratic Majority.

[Applause]

It’s an honor to be you with and with Madam Mayor London Breed, of whom we are very proud. To the Governor – our former colleague [in the House] – Michelle Lujan Grisham, welcome to San Francisco.

[Applause]

Thank you, President Stephanie Schriock, for your strong, strategic leadership at this critical moment in our nation’s history. She is absolutely great. We are all fans of hers. And Betty Yee – everybody loves Betty Yee!

[Applause]

The work of EMILY’s List has never been more necessary as necessary as it’s been all along – or more impactful and needed to make a difference – than it is right now. The women of EMILY’s List are igniting change and powering progress across our nation. Nothing is more wholesome than the increased participation and leadership of women in our elected and government process.

In this Congress, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote.

[Applause]

When it happened, the headlines said “women given the right to vote.” Not so! Women fought, women starved, women marched, women struggled for this. And standing on the shoulders of our suffragists was Ellen Malcom, founder of EMILY’s List.

[Applause]

Today, 106 women serve [in the House of Representatives]. And 91 of them are Democrats.

[Applause]

Thank you, Emily’s List!

[Applause]

We have a transformational class of freshman women leading the way in the House – including the outstanding freshmen here today. You heard from some of the earlier. They’re my bosses. I report to them. They have the courage, integrity, knowledge, vision, and are connecting with their constituents. They are Cindy Axne of Iowa.

[Applause]

Angie Craig of Minnesota.

[Applause]

Sharice Davids – the first of only two Native American women serving in the United States Congress.

[Applause]

Veronica Escobar of Texas!

[Applause]

Abby Finkenauer – one of the youngest women ever elected to the Congress, already a chairwoman of a Small Business Subcommittee;

Lucy McBath – an inspiration for our entire Caucus and our country in the fight to end the tragedy of gun violence.

[Applause]

Susie Lee of Nevada!

Elaine Luria – a former Navy Commander fighting for military families, and also a chairwoman of a Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee. Lauren Underwood – a leader in our work to lower health costs for all Americans and to improve conditions at the border.

[Applause]

I see some of our friends from Los Angeles who are here. And, aren’t we proud of the recipient this year of the Gabby Giffords Award – Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo.

[Applause]

I am proud to say that our House Democratic Caucus is more than 60 percent women, people of color and LGBTQ.

[Applause]

In the Democratic House Majority, women don’t just have a seat at the table. We sit at the head of the table: 7 women hold the gavel as chairs of our committees and 37 women head subcommittees – and 10 of them are freshmen! That’s never happened before!

[Applause]

Join me in saying this because we know, in Congress, that when women succeed, America succeeds.

[Applause]

Let’s do it again: when women succeed, America succeeds!

[Applause]

And with these women leading the way, we are delivering on a For The People agenda. We must own August. This month, we are beating the drum for our first 200 days in Congress – 200 days of progress For The People.

Lower health costs by lowering the cost of prescription drug prices and preserving the pre-existing medical condition [protection] and making sure that the Administration knows that a woman’s right to choose is not negotiable.

[Applause]

We must stop them from doing violence to Title X. We must stop them.

In addition to lowering health care costs, building the infrastructure of America in a green and modern way. We’ve already passed the Raise The Wage Act, to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, giving a pay raise to up to 33 million Americans – including nearly 20 million working women. And we passed the Paycheck Fairness Act to guarantee women the basic respect of equal pay for equal work! Who could be against that?

[Laughter]

I also want to talk about cleaner government. We already passed legislation, HR 1 which says that we must reduce the role of big money in politics, and we must increase the participation of many people. We won this election by a net gain of 40 seats in the most gerrymandered, voter suppressed political arena. We must clean this up.

[Applause]

This is for the people – to restore confidence.

We’ve passed the Equality Act – ending discrimination; we passed the Dream and Promise Act for our Dreamers and [TPS holders]; the Save The Internet Act to restore Net Neutrality; the Climate Action Now Act; a strong reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act – protecting us from all enemies foreign and domestic. And yet, despite all of that, Mitch McConnell calls himself the “Grim Reaper.” He says everything is going to die. Well, I have news for him: these bills are alive and well in the public. And the American people will make their cases heard!

We need to keep this progress going. And to do so, we need to re-elect all the outstanding freshmen women you sent to Congress last cycle. Now, we must defend and expand our majority. I’m here to tell you, even with an all-time record number of Democratic women in the House: we want more!

[Laughter and Applause]

We want more!

Don’t tell anybody I told you this. But this is our plan.

[Laughter]

With Cheri Bustos as Chair of the DCCC, I told them: own August. Own the ground. Here’s a message to our Republican colleagues: you’re going to have a serious race. It’s going to cost you. You’re going to answer for your votes and for your defense of the person in the White House. You’ll be seen as an enabler. It’s going to cost you. You’re going to lose. And if you win, I guarantee you this: you will serve in the minority under a Democratic president.

[Applause]

God bless America. We say it all the time. What is America? America is our Constitution, with a system of checks and balances and our freedoms – which the President dishonors. What’s America? America is a nation of immigrants, who constantly renew America; making America more American with their hopes, dreams, aspirations and optimism – which the President disrespects. America is our beautiful natural patrimony, from sea to shining sea and beyond – which the President degrades with his denial of science. America is our values – which the President disgraces by adding trillions to the national debt instead of investing in our children’s future.

How many times, Stephanie, have we said this: “this is the most important election.” We say it every time but it just gets more so. It’s always true.

So, we have an important responsibility. In the darkest hours of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote: “The times have found us.” Well my friends, the times have found us again. Not that we place ourselves in the greatness of our Founders. But we understand the urgency of the situation we are facing and what we need to do to secure and strengthen our democracy.

This isn’t about politics. It isn’t about partisanship –– Democrats versus Republicans. It’s about patriotism. We all must come together.

Our Founders gave us guidance. E Pluribus Unum. From many, one. They couldn’t imagine how many we would be or how different we’d be from each other. But they knew we had to strive for oneness.

So as we make these strides, we do so in a way to unify our country. We are not dividers; we are unifiers. We will not be like them. It will not be our purpose to resort to their methods. Our methods are to honor the vows of our Founders, the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, the aspirations of our children. I met some of them. I met Abigail; I met Natalie; I met Laura.

It’s all about the future!

We must keep the House! Are you ready to fight and win?

[Applause]

We must take back the Senate – elect Theresa Greenfield! Good luck to you, Theresa.

[Applause]

And as we own August on the issues, we must own the ground. Our grassroots organizing this year and next are vital to victory. We need to lock in our 2020 win by this November so that these people when make up their mind as to whether they’re running or not, they think about losing, they think about serving in the minority under a Democratic president. Maybe they want to spend time with their families.

[Laughter]

I used to say maybe they want to teach at a university but I don’t want them anywhere near that.

[Laughter]

So, here we are. We have to win the House. And we have to win more governorships, Governor Lujan Grisham.

[Applause]

We want it all. We want it all. And so, to do that, it takes everything. We all must remember: the times have found us. Each and every one of us must do everything we can.

Thank you, Emily’s List!

[Applause]

Are you ready win an even bigger Majority? Are you ready to take back the Senate for the American people? Are you ready to elect a Democratic President to the White House?

[Applause]

I thought so! Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America!

[Applause]