Nancy Patricia Pelosi on next steps in coronavirus response

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CNBC Transcript: House Speaker Nancy Patricia Pelosi Speaks with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Squawk on the Street” Today

WHEN: Today, Friday, April 3, 2020

WHERE: CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street

The following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with House Speaker Nancy Patricia Pelosi and CNBC’s Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (M-F 9AM – 11AM) today, Friday, April 3rd. The following is a link to video of the interview on

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Full interview with House Speaker Nancy Patricia Pelosi on next steps in coronavirus response


JIM CRAMER: Okay. Here we go. We got someone who can illuminate the situation. I want to bring in House Speaker Nancy Patricia Pelosi. Ms. Speaker, welcome to the show.

SPEAKER NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: Good to be with you. I wish it were under other circumstances.

JIM CRAMER: Yeah, we all do. We all do.

NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: Yes. Numbers are staggering, aren’t they? 250,000 cases, 6,000 deaths. So sad.

JIM CRAMER: They’re--but it’s a common enemy. You united with both sides. I thought that was a monumental piece of legislation.


JIM CRAMER: And I just think that what’s happened is that while it is big, and I know Secretary Mnuchin wants it to play out, I think it is going to work for a while, if these people are right, these people who are supposed to be seers and say it’s 18 months, you and I both know that there will be millions of people unemployed. What do you suggest we should do? Because that’s too many for this great nation.

NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: Well, it is. And that was predicated on how long it takes to get a vaccine. We had some of the best minds in the country working 24/7, all-hands-on-deck to find a cure or something that can maintain a healthier life until there is a vaccine and the rest. We can’t accept that as an answer. But I do think that we have had three bills that have been bipartisan. I think right now, we need a fourth bipartisan bill. And I think the bill could be very much like the bill we just passed. I don’t think that 350 is enough for small business. And I don’t think that eight weeks is enough of a time to make a judgment about the viability of the business and how long they keep on their employers. So, I would like to go right back and say let’s look at that bill, let’s update it for what some other things that we need, and again, put money in the pockets of the American people. Another direct payment, extending -- we had unemployment at six months in our bill, it’s four.

Let’s take it to six for the unemployment, so that people have that confidence. Hopefully they don’t need it, but they have that confidence. And again, the small business piece, very essential. But when these businesses say they survive, they meet the criteria of keeping their employees on, they pay the rent, the utilities and the rest, and then their loan is forgiven, they still need customers. They still need customers.

So, that’s why I think the most -- while I’m very much in favor of doing some things we need do to meet the needs, clean water, more broadband, and the rest of that, that may have to be for a bill beyond this. Right now, I think that we have a good model, it was bipartisan, it was signed by the president, but it’s not enough. And again, money in the pockets of America’s working families. Remove all doubt that they will have at least some resources. We are a consumer society. So, let’s have them have the resources to consume.

JIM CRAMER: Madam Speaker, you know me outside, you know I’m a constructive person, I want to get it right and be positive point this. We do something that would be rather remarkable but would be with what Dr. Fauci wants. Who I think is a person who respected from both sides. We do a trillion dollar 30-year bond, Safe and Sound. That’s -- I got the acronym there, S.A.S., and what we do is we pay people to stay home for one month. We -- if we’re going to get demand, we have got to do what Dr. Fauci says. We pay them to stay home. Even if we pay them in SCRIPP, and if they go out, we punch a hole and they don’t get the same money. We give them mortgage relief, we give rent relief and we give health care relief. We just do it. And put it in their pockets and get this country moving, because we will solve this pandemic by keeping people at home.

NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: Well, you know that other countries have – some other countries are doing just that. But the models we had in that bill was to, again, keep people employed, whether it was in the airline industry, whether it was in small businesses and the rest, keep people on the payroll in order for you to get your loan forgiven. So, it’s a path to that. I do hope what we do need to have more money for state and municipal governments. They’re bearing a big price. Hospitals are bearing a big price.

We did a down payment for all of that. I would hope the Fed would use its capabilities which are now enhanced by our legislation to ensure that state and local governments have assistance. They don’t need really any more debt. But there has to be a way for them to be helped by our monetary policy as well as our fiscal policy as we do in our legislation. I just really think, okay, we have a model. Again, it means people will stay home and that’s the best way to contain this. I do think we should have done more right now to protect our workers. And that’s something I know Dr. Fauci probably speaks about, but I want that to be a louder voice so the president is not pitting one state or municipality against the next to get the personal protective equipment that people need so that they can, as they try to save a life, protect their own lives, as well as the ventilators and the rest needed to help people.

Because that -- the – the economy is going to be helped by how we reduce the plague. And the plague, of course, needs a cure, a vaccine, the rest of that. But in the meantime, we have to minimize the possible deaths. I don’t accept that number. We just have to do more to do that. And I think that’s good for the livelihood of the American people as well as their lives.

But again, money in the pockets of our consumers. Let’s just go back with the same bill, with some additions that we know we need in terms of pensions, and health care costs,and District of Columbia, OSHA to protect workers, a list that goes on of some things that are just kicked down the road from before, but where we can find agreement. And be ready to do that. We did three bills, March 4th was one. The 14th another. And the President signed a bill on March 28th, complete in just that short period of time. We don’t need a long time to figure out what we need to do next. We know. And we have a model.

JIM CRAMER: I know that you are caring about these workers who are on the firing line. It is a tragedy what’s happening. Should we not bring back industries that we’ve outsourced? We’ve outsourced so much of our health care. Shouldn’t we make these drug companies say, listen, you want to get Medicare and you want to get paid by the V.A., you start making this stuff here. It’s too important. The PPE people, you want to be part of the health society you make this stuff here, ventilators here. Isn’t it time to tell companies you bring that employment back here—we are not going to let you continue to outsource and then make it so we don’t get – our workers don’t get the help they need?

NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: Well, it’s not only for our workers, it’s for our health care. Right now, we’re at a serious disadvantage because much of the supply chain that we need to make the drugs is in other countries. Even companies that are American companies. Or just global companies. They’re not all American companies. But there is not enough that is made here. So, now when we have a global threat, those countries are saying I’m keeping these drugs here, and we are up the creek.

This is a very big issue. And we have been talking about it for a long time. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California is the chair of the Health Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce, and she has been on this case for a long time. She really does think there should be a commission to address this issue about how America maintains its independence--when I say independence, its capability to produce drugs for use here or exported, where needed. But not to be left up the creek because China or India has the supply side of all of this, in addition to in some cases, making the drugs.

Some of it goes from India to Germany. You know the global economy and how there’s value-added. But we have to be more into that loop. Not only from the job side but from the health security side. And that’s something--

JIM CRAMER: Yes—and I like that word plague. Because it really is front and center about who the common enemy is for Democrats and Republicans. One thing that I think you care about, I know you like small business. Representative Velazquez, who is in our district, cares more about small business then I think anyone ever has—


JIM CRAMER: -- she’s a genius about small business. I’m sure she’s worried, as you have to be, that when we come out on the other side, that we’ll have Costco, Walmart and Amazon. And we’ll have McDonald’s, Chipotle and a player to be named later. How do we make it so that we are not a country that just has those guys and no small businesses against them? Now, I know from Secretary Mnuchin that there’s been a lot of -- $400 million delved out, it’s only 9:30. But we can’t have that, right? We can’t have it just be the big box stores?

NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: No, we can’t have that. Small business, of course, is the life blood of America’s economy, where jobs are created, and wealth is created, as well. It is someplace where the greatest growth is coming from women and minority-owned businesses, and that’s part of the vitality of our economy. So, we cannot come down to being reduced to just a few large companies. You’re right to praise Congresswoman Velazquez.

She has been the chair of this committee now for the second time. She has been on the committee a long time. She’s been a champion for small business because it is, again, so important to our economy and then to the lives of the American people. A sense of community. And that is an economic, as well as a personal success for those who are involved in it. I don’t think there’s anything more ambitious or optimistic that someone can do than start a small business. Maybe get married. But, you probably have weighed the equities there. But a small business is a risk, it is entrepreneurial, people take a chance, it’s so exciting. And innovations come from that. And we cannot be reduced to a few big shops, big stores. But again, these are decisions.

And people have to recognize, as you do, and Nydia does, that these are decisions. It doesn’t -- it’s not just an evolution of something, it’s a decision to make sure that people understand how our economy works and that consumers are the lifeblood of it all really, consumers and small businesses, and when they have money in their pockets to consume, that is the best way to grow the economy. And again, that’s what we want to do. Money in the pockets of people. Longer period for unemployment insurance, so people have that confidence. The PPE, the paycheck protection program, let’s have that for longer than eight weeks.

Direct mailing -- I said to the Secretary, please let’s just transfer the direct payments electronically. Let’s not wait until we can get some kind of a fancy mailer to get it out that’s fancy mailer to get it out, because that’s only going to delay it. And right now, people have a hope that something is coming. Let’s not undermine the enthusiasm they may have for that and the confidence they have that when we say something, that we’re going to do it. So, I do think that--I proposed to the administration, to the Republicans, let’s do what we just agreed to, except again, make it more current to, again, understand the business may be open in 8 weeks or 16 weeks, but they don’t have customers, that were just where they were.

JIM CRAMER: No—we don’t have the demand. But that is because of our common enemy, the plague. And I think a lot of use are so thrilled to see you and Secretary Mnuchin work so well together. That was just a breakthrough. Let me ask you something, just put something out there. Wanted to do that trillion-dollar bond. 30-year, we could use 2%, it would be great, it would be an American war bond against the plague.

Would we ever consider a force majeure on mortgage debt, on how much you pay on a mortgage, on rent? How about force majeure on -- these health care companies are charging small business people $6,000 a month. You hear the horror stories. How do we make it so those are either put in a ban, so the government helps, because that’s going to cause individual bankruptcies, and you and I don’t want that?

NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: Right. We do have in this bill some mortgage forbearance, not enough in my view, but some. And we also have that you cannot evict people for a period of time. Not enough, in my view. But the larger issue, well, my city of San Francisco takes some heat because it comes down on the side of the small business so often, about how people shouldn’t be evicted and -- when the economy isn’t what we want. And that’s for sure now. Let me say any discussion we had about any of these subjects in the past is realigned now. We have to make sure, again, as you keep saying we’re all in this together.

How do we make solutions that recognize we’re a free-market economy, that we don’t begrudge anyone their success, however, we don’t want it at the exploitation of anyone else, either? And that, again, whether we’re talking about – again, our city is a poster child of how obscene the rents are, almost immoral in terms of that. And so, it’s hard to succeed. Anyway, we have new technologies, we have new realities and we have to make decisions and recognize how we lift everyone up, not just some.

JIM CRAMER: Right. Now, one last question. There’s an institution in this country that’s revered, and that’s the military. They have 125,000 medical professionals. Why do we not have, maybe it’s just because we’re a little bit older you and me, mass units, all over the country? And why isn’t the fifth army stationed throughout the U.S.? Why don’t we use our unbelievable military to help the just besieged and beleaguered health care people? They’re ready, they’re willing, but they’ve got to be asked.

NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: Well, again, that a question for the executive branch. But I will say this. I’ve seen them in operation all over the world in time of disaster and the rest. And aftermaths of war and migrations, and they are absolutely superb. We think of them only as a defense function, which is, of course, their important purpose, but they also are great in doing other things. Of the people that were -- they thought they were retired, because the president has called them up, about 11,000 of them are medical professionals, and they may be drawn upon in the need for more health care providers.

In terms of the army corps of engineers, they’re essential as to how we go forward now in that vein. But again, the local, the national guard, the reserve and all the rest, they’re being helpful other places as well. Perhaps we can do more, but that would be up to the Commander in Chief.

JIM CRAMER: Well, Madam Speaker, thank you for coming on. Thank you -- I can’t represent the country, obviously, I’m just a guy on TV, but it was fabulous you guys got together and didn’t fight and had all the phone calls. We know who the enemy is, Madam Speaker, and it’s COVID-19.

NANCY PATRICIA PELOSI: But we do have our differences. Their bill was a corporate trickle-down bill. We turned it jiu jitsu – we turned it upside down into a worker’s first, bubble up, but then, obviously, the need was great, and we weighed the equities, and we made some compromises and did the job. Now, let’s do it again.

JIM CRAMER: Absolutely. Let’s crush this thing. Let’s crush it. Madam Speaker, thank you so much. Back to you, Carl.