OPINION — For speaker of the House, we support Nancy Pelosi, the most effective legislative mastermind and political tactician in modern history.
The only woman ever to serve in the top leadership of Congress, Nancy is also one of the most able and multi-skilled leaders in House history. Yes, she has been demonized by untold millions of dollars of political attack ads — but nonetheless she led the party toward a phenomenal victory, which hardly constitutes a reason to abandon her.
Pelosi’s detractors fail to make a compelling case that a different Democratic speaker would be a more effective leader or bring greater benefit to the American people.
In this fraught time, the country is best served with Nancy Pelosi at the helm. We believe that other members of our caucus could, and at some point will, serve ably as speaker. But we know that Nancy can and will. Now, when we have the riskiest president in history, we need a steady hand of leadership in the House.
Record numbers of voters turned out on Nov. 6, and yes, they voted for change. But the change they demanded was clear — a rejection of Donald Trump’s dangerous and divisive agenda and an elimination of the supine Republican majority. The American people saw the ads demonizing Nancy Pelosi. They knew that electing a Democratic majority likely meant electing Speaker Pelosi — and from Northern Maine to Southern California, millions of American rejected demagoguery and chose Democrats in areas that have not elected Democrats in generations.
We have all seen the risks of less capable speakers of the House. Time and again, Nancy Pelosi’s Republican successors failed at vote counting and other basic tasks of legislative leadership, and their agenda suffered as a result. The Republicans promoted less experienced lawmakers to leadership, and the result was bitter intraparty fights and a flailing agenda.
Pelosi has ably juggled all the responsibilities of House leadership. She has held our caucus together through difficult votes. She is a prolific fundraiser, which helped win back a sizable Democratic majority. And she is a steely negotiator, who can stand up to the president’s attacks on health care, economic security and democratic institutions.
Nancy Pelosi has served as speaker under a Republican president before. She has shown time and time again she can out-negotiate, out-maneuver and out-wit Republicans. She did not lose a single Democratic vote last Congress, during the most critical debates on tax cuts, the ACA repeal and the farm bill. She has deftly navigated the internal debates and disagreements of the House Democratic Caucus for sixteen years, without major missteps.
Nancy Pelosi’s legislative record is superlative. As speaker, it was Pelosi’s relentless efforts that ensured passage of the Affordable Care Act, which delivered affordable, quality health care to tens of millions of Americans, established a Patient’s Bill of Rights, and protected 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage by insurance companies.
She stewarded a raft of other visionary legislation, from the Dodd-Frank financial protections to the largest-ever investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which provides legal justice for women facing pay discrimination. Speaker Pelosi also passed the toughest ethics reform legislation in the history of the Congress, the strongest-ever set of hate crimes protections, the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the first increase in the minimum wage in 10 years, and a new GI education bill for post-9/11 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
It is time to stop buying into the Republican propaganda and to bring back the best legislative leaders our institution has seen in many decades. Let us re-elect Speaker Pelosi so we can move on to begin the important work that the American people sent us here to do.
Watch: Pelosi Talks Midterm ‘Wave,’ Says She Has Votes for Speakership