Cantor: Pelosi Isn’t Engaging With GOP

Posted January 24, 2011 at 2:32pm

Updated: 4:59 p.m.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor continued House Republicans’ condemnation of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday by accusing the California Democrat of not reaching out enough to the new GOP majority. 

The Virginia Republican told reporters that he “would love to have the opportunity for [Pelosi] to engage in some kind of working relationship so we could actually deliver results.”

“But thus far it seems that she is continuing to drive an ideological agenda just the same as she did over the last four years,” he added. 

Cantor’s criticism of Pelosi came in the context of comments he made about his relationship with Pelosi’s top deputy, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). 

Cantor said he accepted an invitation to chat with Hoyer over lunch Tuesday, adding that they dined together “on several occasions” in the 111th Congress. He said Hoyer’s outreach to Republicans was “in stark contrast” to Pelosi’s approach. However, tensions between Cantor and Hoyer have been known to flare in the past. 

During the most recent election cycle, Republicans worked hard to vilify Pelosi and tie her to Democratic incumbents and candidates. Earlier this month, 19 Democrats — many of whom had just survived tight races — voted for someone other than Pelosi for Speaker.

Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami disputed Cantor’s assessment, citing examples of how Pelosi has reached out to GOP leaders.

“It’s important to set the record straight,” Elshami said. “The fact is Leader Pelosi has met with Speaker Boehner on numerous occasions both as Speaker and since he became Speaker, and offered to hold regular meetings.”

Cantor also said he would be “more than happy” to sit next to Hoyer during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, but aides to both men said seating arrangements were still being worked out. In the wake of the Jan. 8 shootings that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), there has been a push to break with the tradition of partisan seating at the State of the Union.