Entries in Nancy Pelosi (83)


Pelosi Attends Supreme Court Arguments, Predicts DOMA Will Be Struck Down

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- After attending oral arguments at the Supreme Court Wednesday to debate the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of the most outspoken advocates in Congress for marriage equality, said she believes that when the justices announce their ruling in a couple of months, they will strike down the controversial law commonly known as DOMA.

“On the basis of what I heard, the questions of the justices, the response of the participants, I’m very optimistic that DOMA will be struck down,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “Just being in the room … this [issue] is as big as our country, as big as our Constitution, as big as our being a beacon of equal protection to the world.”

While Pelosi and many of her Democratic colleagues have openly embraced gay marriage over the years, House Republicans have resisted the Obama administration’s unwillingness to enforce DOMA, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has persistently insisted that as long as the Obama administration refuses to enforce DOMA, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which is comprised of three Republicans and two Democrats, will defend the law.

“A law’s constitutionality is determined by the courts – not by the Department of Justice,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel wrote in a statement Wednesday. “As long as the Obama administration refuses to exercise its responsibility, we will.”

On Wednesday, Pelosi said she believes Congress and the nation have evolved since DOMA was first signed into law and she predicted that opposition to gay marriage is “not a model for the future.”

“We’re at a different place, and it’s a generational change as well,” Pelosi said. “Times can blind, and whatever the public mood was on this subject at the time, it also created some ignorance on the subject. And that ignorance is fading now.”

“Make America more American by ending discrimination by overturning the ill-conceived DOMA,” she added.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pelosi, Boehner Wrestle Over Shift in Gay Marriage Support

Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg(WASHINGTON) -- With the Supreme Court set to hear arguments on same-sex marriage next week, two more prominent lawmakers took time to express their unwavering views on the issue.

When asked about his defense of the Defense of Marriage Act given that public opinion has shifted to support marriage equality, House Speaker John Boehner said that while his personal belief is that marriage should strictly be between a man and woman, it should be up to the justices to decide whether the act should be upheld as constitutional.

“In our system of government, the administration doesn’t get to decide what’s constitutional. The Supreme Court does,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Our financing the lawsuit was to make sure that the proper forum was used to make sure that we know what’s constitutional and what isn’t.”

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll,  indicates that the shift in public support for gay marriage is at an all-time high, with 58 percent of Americans now supporting marriage equality.  Just 36 percent of those polled believe same-sex marriage should be illegal.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments against the Defense of Marriage Act as well as California’s Proposition 8 when it convenes next week.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a Capitol news conference today that gay marriage was an issue “near and dear” to her heart and that she predicted the law would be ruled unconstitutional.

Asked about a bill that is moving through the Democratic-controlled New Jersey state legislature that aims to ban gay conversion therapy, a controversial practice in some states where homosexual minors are counseled to believe they are straight, Pelosi discounted the effectiveness of the treatment.

“I believe in science, and I believe in evidence, and I don’t think there’s any scientific evidence that says that we should have such a public policy that tries to do what you describe,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “But I do know it’s disrespectful and discriminatory, and therefore I would oppose the conversion therapy and support the bill, as we have in California.” Though a bill to ban gay conversion therapy was passed in California late last year, it has currently been placed on hold by a federal appeals court and awaits further action.

In contrast to Boehner, fellow Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, in an op-ed last week, became the second-sitting GOP senator to endorse gay marriage.

While the topic has taken on new life on Capitol Hill in the wake of Portman’s reversal, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, also came out in support of gay marriage in an ad for the Human Rights Campaign earlier this week.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama, Republican Leaders to Meet as Sequester Cuts Look Likely

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The budget ax is about to fall, and there's little lawmakers in Washington are doing to stop it.

Despite a parade of dire warnings from the White House, an $85 billion package of deep automatic spending cuts appears poised to take effect on Friday.

The cuts -- known in Washington as the sequester -- will hit every federal budget, from defense to education, and even the president's own staff.

On Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats and Republicans each staged votes on Thursday aimed at substituting the indiscriminate across-the-board cuts with more sensible ones.  Democrats also called for including new tax revenue in the mix.  Both measures failed.

Leaders on both sides publicly conceded that the effort was largely for show, with little chance the opposing chamber would embrace the other's plan.  They will discuss their differences with President Obama at the White House on Friday.

"It isn't a plan at all, it's a gimmick," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday of the Democrats' legislation.

"Republicans call the plan flexibility" in how the cuts are made, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  "Let's call it what it is.  It is a punt."

The budget crisis is the product of a longstanding failure of Congress and the White House to compromise on plans for deficit reduction.  The sequester itself, enacted in late 2011, was intended to be so unpalatable as to help force a deal.

Republicans and Democrats, however, remain gridlocked over the issue of taxes.

Obama has mandated that any steps to offset the automatic cuts must include new tax revenue through the elimination of loopholes and deductions.  House Speaker John Boehner and the GOP insist the approach should be spending cuts-only, modifying the package to make it more reasonable.

"Do we want to close loopholes?  We sure do.  But if we are going to do tax reform, it should focus on creating jobs, not funding more government," Boehner said, explaining his opposition to Obama's plan.

Boehner, McConnell, Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will huddle with Obama at the White House on Friday for the first face-to-face meeting of the group this year.

"There are no preconditions to a meeting like this," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday.  "The immediate purpose of the meeting is to discuss the imminent sequester deadline and to avert it."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama to Meet with Congressional Leaders After Sequester

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- They are finally going to have a meeting.

A congressional source with direct knowledge of the plans tells ABC News' Jonathan Karl that the top four congressional leaders -- Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- will meet with President Obama at the White House on Friday to attempt to negotiate a way to avoid the across-the-board spending cuts that both sides have said should be avoided.

This meeting -- the very first one the president has had with Republican leaders to talk about the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester -- will come after the cuts actually go into effect, which is midnight Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not confirm the meeting, but the source tells ABC News that the White House reached out to the Congressional leadership on Tuesday afternoon to request the meeting.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Nancy Pelosi Wants to Stop the Sequester

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke out forcefully on Thursday against deep automatic spending cuts called the sequester that are due to take effect on March 1 unless there is congressional action.

The California Democrat said allowing these cuts to happen is, "frivolous, it's irresponsible, it's immature and it is not in the interest of growing the economy in our country."

Virtually all analysts say the spending reductions affecting the Pentagon and a myriad of domestic programs will slow down economic growth to the point where it might lead to another recession.

Meanwhile, Pelosi also opposes a third year of freezing federal employees’ salaries to help bring down the deficit, asking her fellow lawmakers, "Why should people who work on Capitol Hill pay that price and be treated as members of Congress are?  It’s a hard question to ask me because -- most of my colleagues are the breadwinners in their families; a pay cut to me doesn’t mean as much."

Maryland Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen is on board with Pelosi, saying federal employees should not "bear the burden” of reducing the nation’s $1 trillion deficit.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pelosi Suggests More Revenue Raising on the Way

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- If Republicans believe the issue of raising revenue is over because a fiscal cliff compromise deal was passed, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that GOP lawmakers have another thing coming to them.

Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, the California Democrat was insistent that the White House and Democrats aren't done trying to produce more revenue even as a huge fight looms over what spending cuts will be necessary to bring down the enormous national debt.

Pelosi said President Obama was initially seeking $1.6 trillion in additional revenue and eventually settled for $1 trillion less through the end of Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.  She believes that closing tax loopholes and deductions would also help bring in more revenue.

As for what cuts to make to entitlements, Pelosi argued against trimming benefits to Social Security beneficiaries or raising the eligibility age for Medicare.

Disagreements with Republicans are setting the stage for another giant struggle over raising the debt ceiling, which the GOP says should be balanced with an equal amount of spending reductions.

Pelosi's solution?  She called on the president to invoke the 14th Amendment that would presumably allow him to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally without interference from Congress and thus avoiding default on U.S. debt.

However, it's a move that could be legally challenged and might even raise the specter of impeachment since some would charge Obama with acting in a dictatorial fashion.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Fiscal Cliff: Can the House Follow Through?

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It was after midnight, but not by much. In a town and for a Senate that has become synonymous with gridlock, the two parties came together for an imperfect solution to a big problem.

After several days of hurried last-ditch negotiations between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), it took only a few hours of hand-wringing and legislative arm twisting for the Senate to pass a bill that would avert the tax hikes and spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff.”

But the legislation faces an uncertain future in the House, where Republicans have been more committed to opposing any and all tax hikes.

Republicans in the House will meet at 1 p.m. in a closed session to consider the Senate-passed fiscal cliff deal. It probably won’t be clear until after that meeting if or when there could be a vote in the House on the bill.

House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi each offered terse statements long before the Senate voted 89-8 to pass their hurriedly written bill.

Neither offered support for the bill. Boehner’s statement, which was cosigned by his entire leadership team, said only:

“The House will honor its commitment to consider the Senate agreement if it is passed.  Decisions about whether the House will seek to accept or promptly amend the measure will not be made until House members — and the American people — have been able to review the legislation.”

Beyond the difficulty of getting House Republicans to support the bill, which includes higher tax rates, that point about the American people being able to review it could be a tough one for some House Republicans to get around. They had accused Democrats of hatching their health reform bill in private and pledged when they took control of the House in 2010 to make all legislation publicly available on the House website for 72 hours before a vote.

For Democrats, the road could be easier. A White House official told Jonathan Karl that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had signed off on the proposal before the Senate vote.

But she has not publicly endorsed it.

“I understand at the present time Senate Democrats are meeting with the Vice President,” Pelosi said in a written statement about four hours before the Senate vote. “When a final agreement is reached and passed by the Senate, I will present it to the House Democratic Caucus.”

ABC’s John Parkinson, who covers the House, thinks it will take more than 100 Democrats to support the bill if it can get to the floor.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pelosi Urges Vote on Middle Class Tax Relief

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Republicans to allow a vote on legislation to extend tax cuts on the first $250,000 of personal income and delay the debate over tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers until next year.

“This doesn’t have to be a cliffhanger,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said after a meeting Thursday afternoon with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “The president has his pen poised to sign a middle-income tax cut. It has already passed the Senate. House Democrats are prepared to vote for it. We urge our Republican colleagues in the House to bring a middle-income tax cut to the floor.”

Earlier Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said that there has been “no substantive progress” during the past two weeks of negotiations to avert the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year.

Pelosi surmised that extending tax breaks for the middle class would be “a Christmas present to the American people” that would not only increase the confidence of consumers, but also financial markets.

“The president has been clear, and we support him, on holding firm to the … expiration of tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year,” she added. “That would be part of a big, bold and balanced package that has big cuts.”

A senior aide to the speaker revealed that Geithner came to Boehner with an offer of $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next decade, an undisclosed amount of new stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and an end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

Another attendee at the Geithner meeting, the Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn of South Carolina, called the meeting “very fruitful.”

“The time for posturing is over,” Clyburn said. “We are in the holiday season when people would love to turn to their families with some certainty, and I think we ought to give them that.”

Rep. Xavier Becerra, the Democratic Caucus chairman, said that Geithner’s equation is “simple math” and results in “a bold but balanced plan that could easily get the [president's] signature and votes” to pass into law.

“We believe that we can move forward,” Becerra, D-Calif., said. “At least let us vote here in the House of Representatives on what has already passed in the Senate on a bipartisan basis, and that is protection for the middle class from seeing the rates rise for them.”

While Boehner seemed glum about the prospects of a deal, Pelosi said she was confident the leaders would strike a bipartisan agreement.

“Why am I confident? Because it’s the right thing to do,” she said. “They’re tough choices for us. This isn’t easy, but it’s necessary, and I have confidence that my Republican colleagues will see the light and at least pass the middle-income tax cut.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nancy Pelosi: No Fiscal Cliff Deal Without Tax Rate Hike for Wealthy

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In an interview that will air in its entirety on Sunday’s This Week, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi gave ABC’s Martha Raddatz a firm “no” when asked if a deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” could exclude tax rate hikes on the wealthy. Pelosi, D-Calif., said that simply capping tax deductions for the wealthy would simply not suffice.

“Well, no…just to close loopholes is far too little money, if it’s — and it could be they have said they want it to be revenue-neutral,” Pelosi said. “If it’s going to bring in revenue, the president has been very clear that the higher income people have to pay their fair share.”

Pelosi’s position puts her directly at odds with GOP House Speaker John Boehner, who said tax rate hikes would be "unacceptable" during an interview with World News anchor Diane Sawyer earlier this month. Boehner has said he is open to rewriting the tax code and closing loopholes, which would result in additional revenue for the federal government, but has ruled out rate hikes for the wealthy.

Still, Pelosi seemed optimistic a deal could be cut after Friday’s first fiscal cliff summit between President Obama and top congressional leaders.

“The spirit at the table was one of everybody wants to make the best effort to get this done. Hopefully that is possible; hopefully it is possible by the middle of December so the confidence of the markets and most importantly the confidence of the consumers returns to infuse our economy with demand, which creates jobs,” Pelosi said.

The “fiscal cliff” refers to a series of tax hikes and spending cuts that are scheduled to go into effect in January.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nancy Pelosi Will Remain as House Democratic Leader

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Nancy Pelosi will continue to serve as the House Democratic leader, she announced in a closed door meeting with fellow Democrats Wednesday.

According to a senior aide, when she broke the news to her caucus, she said, "I will happily place my name for nomination for leader."  But with all the newly-elected members standing behind her, there is no doubt that Pelosi has the support to remain as minority leader.

Caucus members broke into chants of "Two more years!" when Pelosi made the announcement.

The 72-year-old San Francisco congresswoman told colleagues she will continue to lead a united Democratic caucus and fight in deficit reduction negotiations to protect Social Security and Medicare, while asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes.

Pelosi was House Speaker when Democrats held control of the House from 2007 through 2011 and stayed in the top Democratic job for their two years in the minority.  Her goal of returning to the speaker's chair after the 2012 elections was unfulfilled, however, since Democrats did not reclaim the majority on Nov. 6.

Republicans released a tongue-in-cheek statement praising Pelosi's decision.

"There is no better person to preside over the most liberal House Democratic Caucus in history than the woman who is solely responsible for relegating it to a prolonged minority status," said Paul Lindsay, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.  "This decision signals that House Democrats have absolutely no interest in regaining the trust and confidence of the American people who took the speaker's gavel away from Nancy Pelosi in the first place."

With Pelosi still in the top job, the House Democrats' leadership structure is expected to remain mostly intact.  Democrats hold their leadership election on Nov. 29.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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