By Susan Crabtree
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is touting the passage of healthcare reform as her greatest accomplishment in Congress so far.
“Healthcare reform is my proudest achievement in Congress,” she said. “But it would not have been possible without the leadership of President Obama.”
Pelosi made the statements in a commencement speech Saturday at Mills College, a women's liberal arts college in Oakland, Calif. She was flanked by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a Mills College graduate who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus.
In the speech, Pelosi recalled a conversation with Obama the day after the healthcare bill passed the House.
“President Obama called me to say he was happier than the day he was elected,” she said. “I told him, ‘Mr. President, I'm very happy, but not happier than the day you were elected. Because if you hadn't been elected, this day would have never happened.'”
She also promoted the impact she believes the new health insurance law is having on the lives of American families and young adults.
“For young people, for the first time in history, you are allowed to stay on your parent's healthcare plans until you are 26 years old,” she said. “For children, and for all Americans, we ended the days where you can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
“For seniors, we closed the Medicare prescription drug donut hole, and strengthened Medicare for generations to come,” she continued. 'For all Americans, health insurance reform gives you freedom: to change jobs, open a business, pursue your dreams and be creative and entrepreneurial.”
As the first woman Speaker, Pelosi also told the graduating class there is no right path for women trying to balance work and family.
“I'm often asked by young women about the best path to take - whether to have children early in life or to focus on career and then family,” she said. “I've found there is no best path; there is only your path.”
When Pelosi was trying to decide whether to run for Congress in 1987, she was concerned because her youngest child, Alexandra, was entering her senior year in high school. She prayed over the decision and said she asked her daughter “with deepest sincerity” what she thought.
“My teenage daughter looked back at me and said, ‘Mom, get a life,'” she said. “And so I did.”