On the Diversity of the House Republican Conference:
“You’ve heard me talk quite a bit about the historic freshman class Republicans will have next Congress. Just to name a few facts:
- Half of the freshman are either women or minorities
- Young Kim and Michelle Steel will be the first Korean American women to serve in Congress
- Nancy Mace was the first female graduate of the Citadel and will now be the first Republican woman from South Carolina to serve in Congress
- Yvette Herrell is the first Republican Native American woman elected to Congress
- Stephanie Bice is the first Iranian American woman elected to Congress
“This makes me proud as a Republican and as an American. It shows that the Party of Lincoln is also continuing the legacy of the first African-American to ever serve in Congress: Joseph Rainey of South Carolina.
“Rainey was born into slavery, and even after gaining his freedom he received little education as a child. He was drafted by the Confederacy, but he escaped to Bermuda and started a business. After the war, he moved back to Georgetown, South Carolina with his family – and in 1867 he became the chairman of the county’s Republican Party.
“Just a few years later, he was elected in 1870 and became the first African-American in Congress, who tirelessly fought for civil rights, education, and economic opportunity for all.
“Next month, I will be hosting a special ceremony honoring the 150th anniversary of Congressman Rainey’s House service, and I hope you all are able to attend.
“Back in May, NBC News said that President Trump would need a ‘miracle’ to deliver a vaccine by the end of the year.
“Not only did Democrats echo this same pessimistic view, they even casted doubt on whether they or Americans should trust a safe and effective vaccine.
“Yesterday Pfizer announced a 95% effective rate in their late stage trial, and showed it was effective in older adults as well. Earlier this week, Moderna also announced their vaccine had a 94.5% effective rate.
“This is the most important news in a generation. And it is because of American innovation and this administration’s plan to efficiently distribute the vaccine to the American people.
“Dr. Slaoui says 20 million Americans could receive the vaccine next month. We know that a vaccine is how we ultimately defeat the virus — so we need to help reinforce the work of Operation Warp Speed.
“That is why House Republicans included $47 billion in HR. 14, the Commitment to Defeat the Virus and Keep America Healthy Act, which we introduced last month.
On the Need to Help Small Businesses:
“As the promise of vaccines lifts our spirits — small businesses across the country might not be able to wait that long.
“They have been asked to do the impossible, and now are facing further lockdowns with no help from Washington. There is no more time to delay. We must act now…
“I call on every member in this chamber, especially the Democrat moderates who complained about Nancy Pelosi’s failures in delivering a COVID deal, to sign Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s Paycheck Protection Program discharge petition. There is already $138 billion in relief just sitting there, all we have to do is vote to free it up.
“Back in September, 23 so-called moderate Democrats wrote to their House leadership urging for bipartisan negotiations with Republican colleagues.
“Every one of them signed this letter — they admit that if Pelosi failed to reach a deal, a discharge petition would be the only option…
“I hold every one of them at their signature and word — They should join House Republicans in signing our PPP discharge petition…
“Speaker Pelosi’s approach – that ‘nothing’ is better than ‘something’ – is wrong, and the American people have paid the price for it. And now — Democrats are clamouring to go home for the rest of the year. This is a disgrace.
“You signed a letter, you put your name to it, and you stated that if something did not happen [you would support] a discharge petition.
“Well, you know what? Nothing happened. Your leadership said nothing is better than something, and we watched hundreds of thousands of businesses shut down [and] lose their dream.
“We have $138 billion already appropriated, already sitting there. All it takes is your signature and follow through on what you said you would do.
“Now is the day. Now is the time. Let’s stop playing games and let’s work for the American public.”