House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) on Thursday night likened the position that White House negotiators were taking on a new COVID-19 spending bill to the 1982 movie “Sophie’s Choice.”
In that movie, a Nazi at Auschwitz forces a prisoner to choose which of her children will die. After the war, she eventually tells the story to a man who wants to marry her.
“Stingo insists that they start a family, but Sophie has yet to tell him her final secret--her choice. She recounts the night she arrived at Auschwitz with her children, and of how a Nazi officer forced her to choose life for one child, and death for the other.
“Despite her plea of ‘Don't make me choose. I can't choose,’ Sophie's words fall on deaf ears. When a young Nazi is told to take both children away, she releases her daughter, shouting ‘Take my little girl!’ Sophie can only watch as the screaming little girl is carried away to die, her guilt and despair all too clear. Once she has told him, Sophie asks Stingo not to talk about marriage and children.”
At a press briefing she held with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) in the Capitol, Pelosi said: “I couldn’t help but thinking while we were at the table that what they were offering us was Sophie’s Choice.
“Not enough, nothing for housing, in terms of rentals. A moratorium, that’s nice, but it’s not money for rent,” she said. “It isn’t--not enough money for money in the pockets of the American people who really need this, who through no fault of their own are out of work.”
A short while later in the briefing, Schumer agreed with Pelosi that it would be “Sophie’s Choice.”
“It would be the Sophie's Choice--which of your children do you take and you leave a whole bunch behind,” said Schumer. “And so we still urge them to rethink it.”
Nancy Pelosi: “I couldn’t help but thinking while we were at the table that what they were offering us was Sophie’s Choice. Not enough money for food. Not enough, nothing for housing, in terms of rentals. A moratorium, that’s nice, but it’s not money for rent. It isn’t – not enough money for money in the pockets of the American people who really need this, who through no fault of their own are out of work. …”
Chuck Schumer: “…But their stance was disappointing. We asked them, would you meet us in the middle? And they said no, it has to be mostly in our direction. They were unwilling to meet in the middle. They said it mostly has to be their way and they admitted that. And that’s what makes this so disappointing, because we believe we’re covering the needs of the American people.
“And they said: Well, the President may do an Executive Order, a few Executive Orders. But even then, they admitted that that would not, that would leave out millions and millions of people. It would be as--did you say—
Nancy Pelosi: “Sophie’s Choice.”
Schumer: “It would be the Sophie's Choice--which of your children do you take and you leave a whole bunch behind. And so we still urge them to rethink it. An Executive Order will leave millions of people out. It will be litigated. It won't be effective and things will get worse. So we urge them to rethink their position. Their position is their way or the highway.”