Here's a transcript of tonight's EXCLUSIVE 'ED Show' interview with Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi about the Supreme Court's ruling on the health care law and the House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder:
SCHULTZ: On this historical day that it is I’m here with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Congresswoman, congratulations is in order and I say that because after Scott Brown got into the Senate, there were a lot of people that were saying healthcare was dead. You revived it. You must feel vindicated.
PELOSI: I don’t know if vindicated is the word. I’m really very, very happy. I always knew, I always thought, this would be upheld by the court. I said six to three. I was wrong - it was five-four. I gave too much credit to, well let me free myself of my negative thoughts here to one of the justices. This is about, people said... Oh people suffered…. politically because of this vote. I think that’s what the election of 2010 was about nine and half percent unemployment. $200 million was spent misrepresenting the healthcare bill. Nine and half percent unemployment is hard to get through that shield to explain anything. Our members feel proud of what they did. We stand there in the ranks of those who passed social security, Medicare and now health care for all Americans as a right, not a privilege. We came to do a job and now we’re glad the court upholds it.
SCHULTZ: There’s a lot of Americans out there that stood with you on healthcare. They are not in the congress today. The Tea Party ran against them, the tea party went after them on this health care bill. What do you say to them? Was that a courageous move?
PELOSI: They stood very strong and I heard from most of them today after the election, when we met, they said I would never reverse my vote on healthcare for any reason. That’s what I came here to do. They knew their reason to be here today, to get a job done for the American people and today we’ve heard from many of them, very elated about this.
SCHULTZ: What are the next four months going to be like running into the election? Boehner just said in another press conference that the American people are going to have to decide whether they want this or not.
PELOSI: I think the decision has been made. More people are taking advantage of the health care reform. Some of the provisions that are already in affect know how important to them whether it’s pre-existing conditions, staying on your parent’s plan, whether it’s lower costs of prescription drugs for seniors. Those kinds of issues and the more people know what it means to them, the more popular the bill will be, no matter what the other side says.
SCHULTZ: Listening to Mitt Romney today, he is clearly going to run against this. Is this a political winner?
PELOSI: Listening to Mitt Romney today, I was confused because it was as if he was for it before he was against it and now he’s both. He supports the decision of the court, to overturn the entire bill and yet he said but if they do that, you still cannot be discriminated against on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. How does that happen? Is he going to pay for it? Maybe he’s volunteering. The fact is you cannot have it both ways.
SCHULTZ: President Obama said today that this is going to reduce costs, President Obama said today that this going to save the country money. In the other room, the Republicans are saying no, this is going to blow up the deficit. The CBO scores it as a financial winner over the long haul. Who is telling the truth?
PELOSI: Well first of all, when we did the bill, one of the main purposes of the bill in addition to the right of people to have access to healthcare. The cost of healthcare in our country was totally unsustainable for individuals, for families, for businesses large and small. For government – state, local and federal budgets and for our economy because the healthcare costs are a competitiveness issue. Lowering costs was an essential part of what went down this path and it would be an ever-escalating lowering of cost if you can say it that way. That is to say the CBO scored it in a way to lower cost that it does. But it also has built into it studies from the institute of medicine, etc., to say we have to make choices that are not about volume, but about value. Value, not volume. Quality, not quantity. Procedures addressing regional disparities, all of that technical but nonetheless substantial in terms of cost. And in addition to that, not part of this bill, but what we did leading up to this bill with the recovery act was electronic medical records, health IT which was they tell us, the outside groups, they tell us we can reduce costs by hundreds of billions of dollars.
SCHULTZ: But they say, it’s not cost efficient and they’re going to run on that.
PELOSI: Well you know what, we’ll just have to have that debate because what they want is XX insurance companies to have their way. It’s just what it is. You have a good combination of the health insurance industry and the anti-government ideologues who go out there and fight against this bill. What they want is the insurance companies had a good gig. They can charge anything, ever increase the cost, you get sick, you lose your policy and you can even have your policy rescinded on the way to the operating room.
SCHULTZ: They spent a lot of money telling people that this is not good, that the next four months is going to be important - messaging to the American people that this is good.
PELOSI: Yes, but I think these elections are always about jobs. That’s really what the debate will be.
SCHULTZ: Well they call it a job killer
PELOSI: It creates 4 million jobs. Health insurance - healthcare is the fastest growing entity in our economy.
SCHULTZ: So it’s not a job killer?
PELOSI: it’s not. It creates 4 million jobs, it reduces the deficit, it lowers the cost of individuals, it improves the quality and it expands coverage. And it does so in a market-oriented way. If I had my way I’d have single payer and public option, but nonetheless this bill does the job.
SCHULTZ: Your thoughts on Chief Justice Roberts decision, him being the one.
PELOSI: Chief Justice Roberts’s decision I believe is consistent with his writings and his pronouncements in the past about the extent of the court, the Supreme Court’s role in the passing of the constitutionality. That’s why I always said 6 – 3, I anticipated we could possibly get Kennedy, but I was wrong. But we did win and I was right on that.
SCHULTZ: You had a very emotional phone call this morning with Vicky Kennedy…
PELOSI: I did. I called Vicky, as soon as we knew because I didn’t know whether she had the TV on or not, and I called Vicky and I said, thank you, congratulations and she goes saying the same thing back to me. And I said to her, you know, we all know this would not have happened without Teddy. It was his life’s work; it was called the great unfinished business of our country. And I said when he left us we know he was having an influence from on high when we passed the bill and now up until today with the announcement I said now, finally Teddy, as far as health care is concerned can rest in peace.
SCHULTZ: But how do you feel that you’re going to be remembered as the Speaker than went back in and saved it? I remember a conversation I had with Robert Gibbs, he says we’re not going to get health care. A few days later you went in, revived it.
PELOSI: I never, it was never a thought in my mind we wouldn’t have it, I don’t care what anyone else had to say about it.
SCHULTZ: You were going to do it…
PELOSI: We’re going to do it. We had the urgency, we had the value, we had the votes and we were going to make it happen. One of these days we can talk about the people that wanted to get 60 votes, I was saying no, no I’m going to get 51. It’s not my business that’s the senate, but that’s what we ended up doing.
SCHULTZ: Finally, is this Kennedy like? You got a great start. You got some great things, and – that was kind of his philosophy. Take what you can get and move it forward.
PELOSI: Oh, well, we got much more than that. We got much more than that. As you can see by the actions of the others – no, we got much more. Yes, Teddy was the person who said you have to – you have to see a victory and recognize it when it is in sight and not let a victory be snatched – what is the term? A victory snatched from the jaws or jaw -- whatever the term, whatever the expression is. In any event, I would not – I wanted to have a bill that accomplished the same things as a single-payer or a public option would do. Even if we couldn’t get the votes in the Senate to do the public option. And I believe we did that. I think we would have saved more money if we had the public option and I think that – but I think that our purposes are served by this. And if it enabled us to go forward, then so be it. One of these days, I still believe that we can – the decision, the judgment will be made, maybe by states – about their doing single-payer on their own and the rest. But in the meantime, as far as meeting the needs of individuals and families there, and as I keep saying, as far as our families are concerned, the best is yet to come as more of this bill – of this act unfolds and as it is fully implemented in 2014.
SCHULTZ: How would you characterize the contempt vote that’s going to take place?
PELOSI: I think the actions by the Republicans are contemptible. It is not based on fact. It is rushed to the floor. It flies in the face of the congressional admonition that branches of government should work together. In less than two weeks, they are bringing a contempt motion to the floor against a cabinet officer. The first time in the history of our country. When we brought contempt charges against staff in the White House as keepers of the president’s record, for over 200 days we tried to get them to cooperate. Over 200 days. In less than two weeks, they’re coming to the floor. Based on a false premise – they’re premise is false. I contend that it has more to do with tying the hands of the attorney general whose responsibility it is to stop the voter suppression that is out there. They are not happy that he did not pursue protecting (INAUDIBLE) in terms of the constitutionality of --
SCHULTZ: Purely political?
PELOSI: Totally political.
SCHULTZ: Infuriate you?
PELOSI: Well, it doesn’t surprise me. Definitely you think you’ve seen it all, they come up with something else. And I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s happening on the same day as the court decision. I think they thought that it was going to go their way and they’d have like, a one-two punch. They might have a one-two punch, but it might be coming their way.
SCHULTZ: And you think the American people will figure this out? That it is political?
PELOSI: Well I think we, again – we have to make sure that we understand what this is. But you know what? It’s what it isn’t, too. It isn’t jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s what the American people want. Any diversionary tactic will do for the Republicans because they do not believe in a public role in creating jobs or providing health care or anything else. And that’s what people should know about them. They do not believe in the public space. That’s why every day, we vote to undo clean air, clean water, food safety, public safety, public education, housing, public transportation, public health, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. They do not believe in the public role. And bless their hearts, they act upon their beliefs. They sincerely, ideologically believe in this orthodoxy. And that’s why it’s hard to find common ground with them as we used to. Democrats and Republicans going back and forth on the spectrum. They break that spectrum, two different paths.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us. Thank you.
PELOSI: My pleasure. Thank you.