Year in Review: Strong Leadership from Leader Pelosi, House Democrats Secures Victories for America’s Working Families


HOUSE DEMOCRATS UNITED

New York Times: Through It All, Pelosi Keeps House Democrats Moving in One Direction, by Jennifer Steinhauer

Ms. Pelosi maintains unwavering control over Democratic members of the House on legislation — in contrast to the House speaker, John A. Boehner, who continues to struggle with his cacophonous caucus — and she may be a surprisingly vital tool for the White House at the end of President Obama’s tenure.

Her lasting authority was demonstrated this week when she helped pass a measure from the Senate to avoid yet another government shutdown.  That vote “strengthened our hand,” Ms. Pelosi said, a sentiment that many Republicans, who are eager to show that they can effectively govern, agree with, teeth clenched…

Huffington Post: Nancy Pelosi Claims Mantle Of Minority ‘Weaver’ In New Congress, by Jennifer Bendery

Republicans may control Congress for the next two years, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is already showing the GOP — and the White House — that she won’t be a passive bystander…

…the past few weeks demonstrate that she feels emboldened in her position. She’s also stepping up to shape the debate on a number of fronts, ranging from financial reform to health care to energy… with the hand she’s been dealt, she’s so far proven to be an asset to an Obama administration seeking veto-proof margins in the House. She’s also, however, shown that she’s unwilling to rubber stamp the White House’s approach to getting things done.

PREVENTING a REPUBLICAN SHUTDOWN of the DEPARTMENT of HOMELAND SECURITY

Washington Post: Pelosi shows Democrats how to wield power despite House GOP majority, by Sean Sullivan

With a partial Department of Homeland Security shutdown looming, Pelosi saw a way to torpedo Boehner, and get exactly what she and other Democrats wanted for President Obama. The plan was simple: when Boehner needed her the most, she would not be there for him…

Five days later, Democrats got exactly what they wanted: DHS was fully funded without any rollback of Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

…inside the halls of Congress, they aren’t acting like a dejected minority.  Instead, House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Reid have been deftly navigating the big legislative debates to maximum advantage, thwarting the new majorities’ early ambitions and protecting Obama from the GOP assaults on his agenda.

San Francisco Chronicle: Nancy Pelosi steps up as House GOP leaders stumble, by Carolyn Lochhead

If anyone was in control of the House floor Friday, it was San Francisco Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, not the Republicans who won full control of Congress in November.

Less than two months into Republican governance, House GOP leaders suffered their most humiliating defeat yet on the House floor in the battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security, thanks in large part to Pelosi’s ability to marshal her shrunken Democratic minority when it counts.           

“Pelosi and her House lieutenants are bleeding the Republicans dry,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP political analyst.

POLITICO: Pelosi empowered by GOP dissension, by Lauren French

John Boehner once again turned to Nancy Pelosi to deliver votes to avert Congress from diving into a disaster.

On Tuesday, 182 Democrats joined just 75 Republicans to pass a long-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, ending a months-long fight over immigration that President Barack Obama sparked just after Election Day…

“It was very important for us members to stick together to give us the leverage … to have a vote today, which was a very, very strong message … to our enemies, to the American people, and to the workers in Homeland Security that we are there to keep the American people safe,” Pelosi said at a press conference shortly after the vote.

The Hill: Shutdown of Homeland Security averted as Pelosi comes to rescue, by Rebecca Shabad

A partial government shutdown was narrowly avoided late Friday evening as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a surprise move to back legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for one week…

“Thank you for your cooperation on the vote earlier today. Our unity was a strong statement that the Department of Homeland Security must be fully funded,” Pelosi wrote in the letter to Democrats. “We are asking you once again to help advance passage of the Senate passed, long-term funding of DHS by voting in favor of a 7-day patch that will be on suspension in the House tonight.”

UPHOLDING the HISTORIC IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT

San Francisco Chronicle: How Pelosi rallied Dems behind Iran nuclear deal, by Carolyn Lochhead

Nancy Pelosi is about to deliver what may be the biggest foreign policy win of the Obama presidency.

Her confidence rests in a fat, three-ring binder she held in her hands Wednesday as she sat in her conference room just off the House floor, constituting a virtual firewall preventing both majority Republicans and wavering Senate Democrats from scuttling a historic nuclear deal with Iran.

As House Republicans delayed a vote scheduled Thursday to disapprove the deal amid a last-minute conservative rebellion, inside the binder were more than 125 public statements of support from House Democrats, constructed over months of hand-holding and political orchestration by the former House speaker from San Francisco, now minority leader. As the day progressed Wednesday, the number rose to 135…

She did it by leveraging a shrunken Democratic minority. Throughout the summer, as media attention was focused on the presidential race, Pelosi engineered a long campaign, joined by the White House, to win over wavering House Democrats.

POLITICO: Behind Pelosi’s Iran deal campaign, by Lauren French

For weeks, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been penning handwritten, personalized thank you notes to the nearly 150 House Democrats who publicly backed President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

The personal touch caps a months-long behind the scenes campaign by the California Democrat, who has worked hard to ensure the survival of the crowning foreign policy achievement of Obama’s second term.

…Her aggressive whipping operation mustered enough Democratic support in the House to effectively hamstring GOP opposition to the nuclear accord before it could ever really get off the ground.

“There was probably no one in Congress, in either house, who was more actively engaged on this than the leader,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and top target for the White House who ended up supporting the deal in early August. “I think it further burnished her relationship with the caucus because she was enormously respectful of those in the caucus that reached a contrary conclusion.”

He added, “I do think it reinforced for the administration again what an unparalleled ally they have.”

The Hill: Pelosi in overdrive to sell Obama’s nuke deal with Iran, by Mike Lillis

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is conducting an aggressive August campaign to rally House Democrats behind President Obama’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

The minority leader is hitting the phones to whip on-the-fence Democrats behind the agreement in hopes of building the numbers proponents may need to seal the deal in the face of GOP efforts to scuttle it…

“It’s exactly the type of Democratic leadership we need … to push a more effective, less bloody foreign policy,” Zack Malitz, campaign manager at CREDO Action, a liberal advocacy group, said Monday. “Her efforts are tremendously important.”

SECURING VICTORIES for WORKING FAMILIES; AVERTING a GOP SHUTDOWN

Los Angeles Times: Budget standoff puts Nancy Pelosi back in the driver’s seat, by Lisa Mascaro

[Leader Pelosi] has steadily rebuilt her power on Capitol Hill, exploiting divisions among those same Republicans who have weakened her successor, House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio.           

Over the next week, as congressional leaders try to avoid another government shutdown, Pelosi will exert her rising clout as she tries to use a battle over the federal budget to win concessions from the GOP majority.

“She looks for opportunities to get things done,” said Henry A. Waxman, the former congressman from Los Angeles and a Pelosi ally. “She’s in a unique position as we approach the end of the year to demand that some of our priorities be recognized.”

…Pelosi has used that leverage to great advantage…She delivered enough Democratic votes this month in support of the nuclear deal with Iran to stymie Republican-led opposition. Earlier this year, she surprised many by working quietly with Boehner to secure a pay raise for Medicare doctors, fixing a recurring problem with a long-term agreement that also boosted a children’s healthcare program favored by Democrats.

Wall Street Journal: Nancy Pelosi Drives Hard Bargain With Paul Ryan on Spending, Taxes, by Kristina Peterson

In case House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) was in any doubt, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has made it clear this week that she drives a hard bargain…

Mrs. Pelosi, determined to block as many GOP policy measures as she can, is demonstrating to the new speaker that Democrats’ support on must-pass legislation won’t come cheap…

Mrs. Pelosi has been able to maintain her leverage… Long known as a tough negotiator, Mrs. Pelosi has stepped up her efforts in recent days on both the spending bill and legislation addressing a slew of lapsed and expiring tax breaks known as “extenders.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Pelosi: GOP ‘gave away the store’ in spending bill, by Carolyn Lochhead

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi credited a “desperate thirst” among Republicans to lift a 40-year ban on exporting U.S. crude oil for big Democratic victories — including quashing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and winning a five-year extension of tax credits for renewable energy — in a $1.1 trillion spending bill Congress cleared on Friday.

Describing her first negotiations with new House Speaker Paul Ryan, Pelosi said Republicans wanted the ban lifted so badly that “they gave away the store.”

Roll Call: Pelosi’s Victory Lap, by Emma Dumain

Sitting beside one of her top lieutenants, Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, Pelosi held court for nearly 45 minutes to discuss the Democratic wins in the omnibus and explain why even a lack of bankruptcy relief for Puerto Rico and a reversal of the ban on crude oil exports shouldn’t keep Democrats from supporting the package.

It was also an opportunity for her to say she would, once again, help bail out the Republicans to avoid a shutdown. And to say that she’d extracted as good a deal for her party as possible in divided government…

…Ryan reportedly at one point acknowledged Republicans would get “zero” of the policy riders they wanted included except one to lifting the oil export ban. Which was, incidentally, the sticking point for many Democrats.

“They wanted big oil so much they gave away the store,” Pelosi said at her Friday breakfast roundtable meeting.

Associated Press: Congress OKs year-end budget deal, sends to President Obama, by Andrew Taylor

The measure received big majorities in the House from Republicans and Democrats. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, a key negotiator, swung forcefully behind the measure after showing frustration over its lifting of oil export ban.

“They wanted big oil so much that they gave away the store,” Pelosi said. But she cited successes in driving away most GOP policy proposals from the measure. Democratic also pushed through higher domestic budgets and tax breaks for working families and renewable energy.

The measure won support from Republicans by a 150-95 margin. Democrats followed Pelosi’s lead and backed the bill by a 166-18 margin.

POLITICO: How old-fashioned logrolling produced Congress’ massive budget deal, by Jake Sherman, Lauren French and Anna Palmer

…Substantively, though, Democrats continued to exploit the ideological rift within the House Republican Conference. They won significant concessions even though the GOP controls both chambers of Congress. That was the case under Boehner, and it happened this time, too…

As Pelosi and Ryan worked on the deal, they forged a relationship on the fly…On Dec. 11, they sat down for more than two hours in the Capitol over steak and fries. The two discussed policy, family and their jobs. There was only brief talk about the budget, but Ryan told Pelosi he wanted language in the bill to strengthen protections for organizations and doctors who oppose providing abortion, in addition to the so-called fiduciary rule, which would relax restrictions on financial advisers.

Pelosi responded that Republicans would be on their own if that was his position. Ryan said he knew he would get “zero” of those riders in, making the zero with his fingers.

FIGHTING AGAINST SYMBOLS OF HATRED & DIVISION

The Hill: Pelosi ambushes GOP with Confederate flag resolution, by Cristina Marcos

The House voted Thursday to refer legislation banning the Confederate flag image from the Capitol to a committee, effectively punting the issue.

The dramatic vote was forced by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was eager to put a spotlight on the issue after House GOP leaders pulled a separate bill from the floor after an intraparty fight over the flag.

Pelosi’s resolution would have forced Mississippi’s state flag, which includes the Confederate flag, to be removed from the House side of the Capitol.

Huffington Post: Nancy Pelosi: Time To ‘Put Away’ Confederate Flag, by Laura Barron-Lopez

It is time for the U.S. to “put away” the Confederate battle flag, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday, as a fight over the symbol reached fever pitch on Capitol Hill.

The House had planned to vote Thursday on an amendment to an Interior Department spending bill that would have reversed previously passed measures banning the display of the Confederate flag on graves on federal land and the sale of the flag by the National Park Service. House GOP leadership pulled the spending bill from the floor, however, amid an escalating fight surrounding the Confederate flag language.

Pelosi scolded Republicans for scheduling a vote on the amendment on the same day that marks the 147th anniversary of the 14th amendment, which “granted equal protection for all.

HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP: A STARK CONTRAST with GOP DYSFUNCTION

Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt:

While John Boehner was preparing to renounce the speakership, I was listening to his predecessor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, address the Stateless Breakfast in Honor of Human Rights in China. Pelosi’s presence was a reminder that power can be used for more than preserving power — it can be used to speak up for the powerless.

Wall Street Journal Editorial:

Perhaps without Mr. Boehner as flak catcher, Republicans will learn the virtue of political patience. The model is Ms. Pelosi in 2007, when she was under intense pressure from the left to defund the Iraq war and stop the surge. Instead of shutting down the government in protest, she bided her time with the priority of electing a Democratic President in 2008. Then she fulfilled 40 years of progressive dreams.

Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty:

The Democrats won control of the House back in 2006, bringing in Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the first woman speaker in history. Many congressional scholars say that she wielded the power of her office more effectively than any speaker of the modern era, using her majority to force through nearly all of President Obama’s agenda–most notably, his health care overhaul.

New York Times’ Gail Collins

We should spend more time quoting Nancy Pelosi. Also noting that in recent years, the nation has avoided a raft of political cataclysms because Pelosi has delivered crucial votes whenever Boehner could not get his own majority to behave in a minimally responsible manner.

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