Nancy Pelosi insists she doesn’t gloat when House Republicans can’t shore up the votes among their own members to pass any number of critical bills, and it’s Democrats who get to swoop in and call themselves the heroes.
“I would rather they did the responsible thing so we wouldn’t have to bail them out every time,” the California Democrat quipped of her GOP counterparts.
But the minority leader, who sat for an interview in her Capitol Hill office with CQ Roll Call, must be feeling gratified.
The government is on the precipice of a shutdown, and if Republicans can’t get to 218 votes on their side of the aisle, Pelosi will get to call in the cavalry once again.
It would be the second time in a matter of weeks that she’s gotten to flex her muscle: She successfully squelched a pre-Thanksgiving deal on a tax extenders package negotiated exclusively by Senate Democrats and House Republicans — a deal that would have been a nonstarter for her caucus and President Barack Obama.
“The minute we got wind of what [it] would be and that it had a path, before it gained any respectability, I called our members and said, ‘This is what I think is happening … but I have to know that I can say to the president that this will sustain a veto,’” Pelosi recalled.
With Obama still in the White House, Pelosi remains a player, as her impact on the tax extenders package showed. But how much leverage she retains in the 114th could come down to how she fits into the Republican-controlled Congress over the next two years.