House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supports the Obama administration’s decision to take Cuba off of the state-sponsored terrorism list, saying the move is “so long overdue.”
Pelosi also said Obama is handling the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program “excellently.”
“Absolutely. It’s so long overdue. I think it should be generally accepted. Now we can start to begin the conversations about having a normalized relationship – embassies in each country, go forward in our hemisphere as good neighbors,” Pelosi told PJM at the Grammys on the Hill event in Washington.
“I don’t think Cuba should be on the terrorist list. I don’t think it’s a matter of negotiation. Either they should be on or they should be off and so I think they should be off,” she said.
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who was honored at the event for his advocacy on behalf of recording artists, shared the same view.
“I think it sends a good message. It says that Americans are reasonable and when the Americans decide they have to set their feet down and take whatever actions, you know that they’ve tried alternatives first,” he said. “The fact is we ought to do the right thing. We ought to take Cuba off the terror list if they are not in fact any longer promoting terrorism, regardless of Iran or Russia or anything, we shouldn’t keep someone on the terrorism list if they don’t deserve to continue being there.”
Nadler said it is way past time to normalize relations with Cuba.
“We have relations with communist north Vietnam, communist China, why not with Cuba?” he asked.
Pelosi was asked if she is satisfied with the way President Obama is handling the Iran nuclear deal.
“I think the administration has been handling it excellently and I think this compromise on the bill is not harmful. I think the Corker legislation was very harmful,” she said. “It would undermine the negotiations so I’m glad we’re rid of that. In its revised form, it’s much less harmful but I think the president has done a great job and I congratulate him.”
Nadler said Iran is still promoting terrorism and developing ballistic missiles but every issue with Iran cannot be dealt with at the same time.
“In an ideal world, Iran would not have any enrichment capabilities. They wouldn’t continue to develop ballistic missiles, etc., but we don’t live in an ideal world. I assume the administration is negotiating the best deal they can and if it is sufficient in preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, that’s fine,” he said. “We still have other problems. They are still promoting terrorism. They are still developing ballistic missiles. We’ll have to deal with that separately. It would be nice if you could deal with it altogether but you can’t.”
At the event, Nadler advocated for the recently introduced Fair Play, Fair Pay Act, which would pay vocalists performance royalties for terrestrial radio play.
“We live in a capitalist society where normally you don’t give away your work for free and the price is normally settled by you and I both agree if I am selling you a service,” said Nadler, one of the sponsors of the bill. “The radio stations say, ‘well, they’re being compensated by promotional value.’ Well, they don’t agree with that so they shouldn’t be forced to do it. It’s anomalous. We’re anomalous – the only countries in the world that don’t have a performance right are North Korea, Iran and the United States. We’re in great company and we shouldn’t be.”
Nadler also said American musicians do not get paid when their music is performed in Europe or anywhere else.
“It’s a tremendous amount of money that’s lost for Americans whose work is performed abroad, so it’s only fair,” said Nadler, ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. “Traditionally, you might say it wasn’t that important because most of your income came from the sales of records and albums, but that’s not true anymore. If we don’t allow performing artists to get paid for radio, you’re going to have a lot fewer performing artists, which you are already seeing.”
The Recording Academy also recognized House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) for his support of artists’ rights.
First Lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the ceremony to present Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Alicia Keys with the Recording Artists’ Coalition Award.