April Ryan talked with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives this morning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
Pelosi revealed details about her upcoming speech at the “58th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner”, discussed the high unemployment rates in the Black community, and revealed the reasons why President Obama’s initiatives have been “blocked” lately. (Read the interview below)
APRIL RYAN : Well we lucked up on the Political Jackpot, and we have with us the woman who broke the marble ceiling becoming the first woman Speaker of the House. A woman President Obama says would make his job a lot easier if she were speaker again. With us house minority leader, Nancy Pelosi. Good morning, Leader Pelosi.
NANCY PELOSI: Good morning.
APRIL RYAN : Good morning.
NANCY PELOSI: I hope that Roland is feeling better.
APRIL RYAN : (Laugh) I’m sure he would love hearing that from you. Well, Leader Pelosi, I want to start this off first. Sunday you’re going to be addressing the 58th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner at the Detroit branch of the NAACP. And what are you going to discuss? Because there’s a lot to talk about, particularly as it pertains to minority America right now.
NANCY PELOSI: Well, you know, I’m really honored to be invited by Congressman John Conyers, Chairman. And the theme of the dinner is Freedom Must Never Be Defaulted, It Must Forever be Exalted. And I view freedom as not only empowering of voters, and stopping the voters suppression in that, but also jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. And what my conversation with the 10,000 people there will be about the past, the entire unemployment, or the entire economy addressing the special concerns in the community because we have high unemployment in the African American community. But also it really faces reality that the republicans, they tried to deprive President Obama of a second term. They failed. Now they’re trying to deprive him of a legacy. And his legacy is about jobs. His budget is about jobs. And they’re trying to block that. We can’t take no for an answer.
APRIL RYAN : Well, it’s interesting you talk about the high unemployment rate, which is for African Americans 13.3%. The overall unemployment rate, 7.6%. And there has been a historical difference in the unemployment rate between African Americans and the mainstream Americans. And the Labor Department says that for the last few months they have blamed a large portion of the black jobless rate on government job cuts. So what can you tell us? Are you just going to talk about it? Or are you going to talk about targeted approaches, which people seem to shy away from.
NANCY PELOSI: Well, the President has in his budget initiatives for job growth. It talks about building the infrastructure of America, focusing on green energy technologies innovation. And we have, the other part of it is as we do our budget, we have to educate the American, we can’t have a – we have a disparity in income. We have a disparity on the unemployment rates. We have disparity in education in our country. And that is all related. And we have to, there is, there is a false economy to say that our debt goes up the more we increase our spending. We don’t want to spend frivolously, we want to spend wisely. But the more you invest in the American people the more revenue comes into the Treasury, for example, with education. Nothing brings more money than the Treasury than educating the American people. People getting better jobs more revenue coming to the Treasury. We’re all connected in that. I totally disagree with those who say we’ll lower the deficit by stopping our investments in the future.
APRIL RYAN : Well, the President is still talking about budget cuts as well, and we’re still in sequestration, but it seems like you have a little bit of hope out there as realistically we are still expecting cuts over the next two years, correct?
NANCY PELOSI: Well, we have to have hope. And the Presidents talking, when you want to be frugal, we can cut things we don’t need, or that are duplicative, or obsolete, or just not a priority compared to job creation, investing in our future. And the fact is that the more people, many of the things that the President needs, we have to do is address unemployment with unemployment benefits. That’s a sort of a prescription, but it doesn’t remove the cause. So we must do both. But for people, some of the same people, who oppose the minimum wage, and the President, yes, you know, made that statement at the State of the Union that it was a priority. They opposed the minimum wage, and then they criticize the people who aren’t even paid a living wage because they may need food stamps, housing support or something like that. So we have to put our priorities in order. We’re a community who wants to lift everyone up. And we don’t want to have a budget as the republicans are proposing that gives tax cuts to the rich and opposes the minimum wage and criticizes people who are not making a minimum wage, a livable wage and depend on some assistance to get themselves through a transition. But it’s a big fight that we have, but we have to be hopeful that the President will prevail. We must support him in every way so that the public sees the distinction between, to see what they’re trying to do to block to the initiative he’s taking. We also can’t take no for an issue on the gun issue. It didn’t pass in the Senate, it got a majority of the vote, but again we have to go back at it because this is a serious problem in our country that we must address. And the President I think has been the most eloquent spokesperson for why we must act, and we must act now, it’s long overdue.
APRIL RYAN : Leader Pelosi.
NANCY PELOSI: We have some important work to do, but we have to be ever optimistic. And we just have to make sure everybody knows we’re not taking no for an answer. We’re not going away until we move in a forward direction away from disparity and toward equality.
APRIL RYAN : Leader Pelosi, thank you so much for your time early this morning. You are awesome.
NANCY PELOSI: Thank you.
APRIL RYAN : House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, a Baltimore native as well. I know you live in San Francisco today.
NANCY PELOSI: Thank you.
APRIL RYAN : Thank you so much for joining us. Tom, Sybil and Jay.