CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: You just mentioned schools and I want to talk about that because it’s front of mind for so many people. I have to say, talking – you know, I have three children, two are school age, and talking to fellow parents, there’s just so much anxiety, consternation, uncertainty. What does the fall look like?
There’s a new Quinnipiac poll today that shows the President has a 62 percent disapproval rate on the schools. And your home district of San Francisco announced today it’s going to be all remote. What do you think should be happening in schools, and what role does Congress and the federal government have to play to see that it is done?
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Well, first of all, we had the opportunity to see one of your beautiful children when I was here before.
You describe perfectly the angst that many families across America have about their children going to school. I have a granddaughter in public school in San Francisco, so I hear it at home as well. But some kids have more opportunity learning from home than others, and we have to make sure that as we go forward, if kids are learning from home, that they have the food and the technology to do so.
But in terms of opening up the schools, children want to go to school. They want to see their friends. They want to socialize. Teachers, overwhelmingly, would like to be going back to school, as do parents want their children to go back to school. But none of the above want that to happen unless it is safe. And so, for the President to say that he’s going to withhold funds from schools that don’t open up is completely upside down.
What he should be saying is we’re going to pass The Heroes Act, which has $100 billion in order for schools to open up so that they can be safer for children. But, as I said to you, the intensity of the virus and the spread of it is such that we may need more than that $100 billion. And it will be well worth it to protect our children, our primary responsibility. And what it would do is to help with the – the sanitation issues, the training of teachers, there’ll be spacing because people have to be further apart, therefore you need more teachers. And there are a variety of provisions that can make it safer.
For example, in the District of Columbia, my understanding is they’ve decided they’re going to go two days a week. First two days for one group of children, third day they clean the schools – that takes money. The next two days a different group of children going.
So, localities will determine how they can cope with it. And it does relate to the intensity of the virus in the community. So these will be local decisions, even within a state of California. We have some differences, but the fact is you need the money to do it. You need the money to do it. And it’s, as I say, a small price to pay for the lives and livelihood and the good health of our children, their teachers, custodians in the building, food suppliers and the rest.
There’s a way to do it. And you know what, it’s a bigger way: open the economy, open our schools. We have that as pillar two in The Heroes Act. Testing, testing, testing. Testing, tracing, treating, distancing, masking, sanitation and the rest.
And what we’re calling upon the President to do on this second anniversary – it’s the two-month anniversary of The Heroes Act – is to implement the Defense Production Act to call upon industry to supply us with the equipment that is needed. People can’t get tested because there’s not enough testing equipment. They can in some areas; they can’t in others. People can’t – it takes a week to get a test back because we don’t have the equipment, enough equipment to get those results in a timely fashion that really makes a difference. So in a week, it’s probably obsolete anyway. So you have that.
And then we need the PPE. We need it for the schools, for health care workers, the personal protective equipment. We should be all systems go with providing that equipment: PPE equipment, equipment to test, equipment to get the results of the test. And if we do that – and the sooner we do that, the sooner we can open up our economy, the sooner we can send our children back to school as safely as possible. And we have it in The Heroes plan.
Mr. Pallone, the Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee has a very strategic plan. We’ve done testing, the first bill we had, on March 4th on the Floor of the House, is testing, testing. We’ve done it, but they have not implemented it because they’re defying science.
And now they want to have the results of the findings to go, not to the CDC and the scientists there, but to the Administration. Shameful.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about opening schools in the fall to students, learning from home, another stimulus package and more with MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Wednesday.