Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at the 72nd annual legislative--political conference for the Communications Workers of America (CWA) this morning at the Washington Hilton. This year's theme is: "A New Path for Challenging Times." Below are the Speaker's remarks as prepared for delivery. .
"Thank you, Larry, for your generous introduction and for your leadership in building coalitions and leading the fight for progress nationwide.
"I want to acknowledge your Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Rechenbach; your Executive Vice President Annie Hill; and the entire Executive Board of CWA for bringing the voices of America's communications workers to our nation's capital.
"It is an honor to deliver a special welcome to Jim Weitkamp, the delegates from San Francisco and the state of California.
"One hundred years ago, a group of telephone workers began to organize and formed a coalition of passionate advocates to fight for better wages, better working conditions, and a better quality of life.
"That group grew and became the Communications Workers of America, laying the building blocks for what we see today: "a union for the information age.'
"In the decades since, you've built coalitions with other unions, activists and organizations to advance a progressive agenda. You have embraced each challenge as an opportunity. And today, you are extending CWA's legacy, following a "new path for challenging times.'
"Democrats are supporting you on this new path with: health care for all Americans; broadband coast to coast; and a "Make It In America' strategy to create jobs and strengthen our manufacturing sector.
"Our new path started with the drive to make affordable, high-quality health insurance a right, not a privilege, for all Americans.
"Two years ago, at this convention, CWA made this a top priority. This year -- with your help and your advocacy -- we got the job done. Thank you for all you did to make these reforms a reality for America's families and businesses.
"Our new path led us to start working to extend broadband access to all Americans -- creating millions of good-paying jobs here at home and securing our competitiveness around the globe.
"That's why the Recovery Act invested more than $7 billion in our nation's broadband infrastructure. That's why we pushed the FCC to develop a National Broadband Plan. And that's why we will continue working to embrace universal broadband coverage and bridge the digital divide.
"On our new path to prosperity, expanding broadband service goes hand-in-hand with our renewed commitment to a restored, growing, and thriving manufacturing sector.
"For generations, America's manufacturers have put our middle class to work, made us more secure, and formed the foundation of our global economic leadership. But under the last administration, America saw 4.6 million American manufacturing jobs disappear.
"Now, Democrats have rolled out a new strategy to restore our manufacturing legacy and to reaffirm that when we "make it in America,' we create jobs and lead the world economy.
"Our manufacturing agenda will: close loopholes that encourage outsourcing; create new American jobs inventing clean energy technology and building the wind turbines and solar panels the world will buy; demand that China and other countries honor fair trade principles -- or lose American business; and put returning veterans to work in the clean energy jobs of tomorrow.
"Our commitment to "Make It In America' is already at work in the House, as we've passed the U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act to level the playing field for U.S. firms and support tens of thousands of jobs and the SECTORS Act to bring together business owners, unions, educators, and workforce leaders to train Americans in industries critical to our economic prosperity.
"Today, our fight continues with: the National Manufacturing Strategy Act to strengthen American manufacturing, create jobs, and ensure America can provide for its own defense and the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act -- to help U.S. clean tech firms market and sell their products at home and abroad.
"As workers on the cutting edge of our latest technologies, CWA understands the need to strengthen and modernize our manufacturing base. And you recognize the urgent need to always move forward -- to never look back.
"Yet, as we gather here today, Congressional Republicans are promising a trip back to the "exact same agenda' of the Bush years. Democrats are moving in a New Direction -- and we are not going back.
"Republicans are looking back at the Bush Administration with "fondness' -- an era that left us with a deep financial crisis, a deep recession, and deep deficits. Democrats are standing up for the middle class -- and we are not going back.
"Republicans are signing pledges to protect tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas -- to preserve business as usual. But that isn't the leadership America needs. Looking backward is not what Americans want.
"We want to move forward. We are not going back.
"CWA has stood side-by-side with Congress and the President to make progress for the American people.
"From the activism of telephone workers a century ago to the passion of one of America's fastest-growing unions today, CWA has always paved a road toward opportunity. You have always led the way toward a future of jobs and success.
"Now, we need your help to keep moving our country forward; to reject the calls for a return to the failed policies of the past; and to pursue a "new path for challenging times.'
"Thank you for your support. Let's get to work."