Tag Archives: Nancy Pelosi

Rep. George Miller to Retire

Longtime Congress member has been a strong supporter of Democratic Leader Pelosi

by Brian Leubitz

These days, it seems that some Congress members are being forced out at the end of their careers. (See Pete Stark…) George Miller probably had no reason to worry about that, as he had no competion and remains popular inside and outside of his district. But today, Rep. Miller decided that 2014 will be his last year in the House:

California Rep. George Miller, Nancy Pelosi’s strong right arm and one of the top Democratic legislators of his generation, is stepping down at the end of this year after four decades in Congress.(Politico)

While the Dem on Dem fighting is often overhyped and sensationalized, George Miller truly was the heart and soul of Team Pelosi. He was supportive every step of the way, but Miller was no mere water carrier for Pelosi; he has his own, very impressive legislative record:

As such Miller was a player in the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 as well as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 backed by then President George W. Bush and the future Speaker John Boehner. Miller helped write the last minimum wage increase with Sen. Kennedy in 2007, and through the years used his committees as a forum to highlight worker safety conditions in the coal, oil and apparel industries.

In the arena of Western lands and the environment, Miller could be as powerful for saying no as yes. He took pride in his role behind the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 and the Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992 impacting the distribution of fresh water supplies in California. But he will probably be remembered more nationally for tearing up the railroad track to impede Western Republicans, who took the gavel from him in the Resources Committee in 1995 and set about trying to undo environmental laws he had championed.(Politico)

The seat is a very Democratic one, and will likely lead to a frenzy in June, and a possible Dem-on-Dem general election in November depending how the candidate field shakes down. There are a number of strong candidates in the area, expect the Around the Capitol page to fill up quickly. However, off the top of my head, this could move one of the State Senate Candidates running in SD-07, Susan Bonilla and Joan Buchanan. Current SD-07 occupant Mark DeSaulnier could also consider the race as he is termed out of the Senate. Tom Torlakson is also in (or very close to) the district as well, but he seems pretty committed to his re-election campaign for State Superintendent of Instruction.

UPDATE: And just like that, Sen DeSaulnier says he is in.

Leader Pelosi Isn’t Going Anywhere

Staying on to fight Boehner and build caucus

by Brian Leubitz

In the history of the Congress, there have been few leaders like Nancy Pelosi. Besides the obvious, her history-making role as the first female Speaker, she has been a powerhouse in many other ways. She leads a caucus with a wide range of opinions, yet she emerged from one of the most progressive districts in the country. Through sheer strength of will she was able to be the guiding force to pass health care reform.

And yet here we are, democrats are wondering if she’ll step aside because she wasn’t able to retake the gavel. The answer? A firm NO:

“Being active in politics at this level is really insatiable,” Pelosi, 72, said, recounting a conversation she had with her brother explaining why she wants to stay on. “What I said to him was, ‘There’s not enough hours in the day for me. There’s so much more I want to do.’ ”

“The message is clear from the American people. They want us to work together to get things done. And that’s what these folks are here to do. Just like all of you,” Pelosi said during the caucus meeting, according to the notes taken a Democrat in the room. “We may not have the gavel, but as I can see in this room, we have the unity.” (WaPo)

Perhaps she is a lightning rod for the Right, but she is also a prodigious fundraiser and an absolutely dedicated campaigner. She faced enormous headwinds in 2010, and this year she dealt with Republican gerrymandering of districts. Seeing the positive results in California, it is certainly time to start exporting our system of reapportionment to other states. But Pelosi still has a lot of work to do, and is still more than capable of doing it.

At least she’s capable of taking care of stupid questions from Luke Russert. Check the flip for the video of that particular exchange.

Speaker Pelosi’s Future

Being that the only thing that is clear is that Speaker Pelosi will hand over the gavel to a slightly orange man from Ohio, there are many questions left to resolve.  While the common wisdom, both in DC and San Francisco, was that if she lost the gavel, she would retire in the near future, that doesn’t seem to be automatic at all.

David Dayen has a great post on the subject at FireDogLake wrapping up some of the tea leaves:

This doesn’t totally break precedent, Sam Rayburn stuck around after losing the Speaker’s gavel in 1947 and 1953, and he eventually got it back both times.

The only people who don’t want her back are some scattered Blue Dogs who don’t like the way she passes actual legislation and gets things done. Heath Shuler wants to run for Minority Leader against her, and Jim Matheson (D-UT) thinks she should step down. But the Blue Dogs are decimated after this cycle, and can’t really dictate the actions of the caucus.

The second interview Pelosi gave after the election was to Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post, which says quite a bit there. She said she has received a positive response from members who want her to stay on.

As Robert pointed out, while she hasn’t been able to accomplish everything we would have hoped, her record is stellar.  She pushed every major goal, with the exception of immigration reform, through the House. And honestly, by the time we got around to immigration reform, she had been burned by the Senate one too many times.

This is the Speaker that practically carried health care reform on her back. This is the Speaker that fought George W Bush, honestly but voraciously.  It’s hard to point to any other House member that can do what she has done for so long, so effectively.  In fact, when you take a look at the Democratic roster, it is hard to imagine anyone else being as effective as her.  2012 is a different environment, but Nancy Pelosi is our best choice to lead Democrats back to the majority.

DailyKos has a set up a petition to retain Speaker Pelosi in leadership.

UPDATE by Robert: Pelosi has indeed announced she will run for minority leader:

Driven by the urgency of creating jobs & protecting #hcr, #wsr, Social Security & Medicare, I am running for Dem Leader.

This is great news. She has almost certainly counted the votes. It’s a sign that the Democratic caucus plans to keep on its path instead of turning to the right as some idiots suggest.

New video – Bill Hedrick: Not Nancy Pelosi

Ken Calvert is horribly confused.

At least it sure seems that way.  Ken Calvert seems to think he’s running against Nancy Pelosi on November 2nd.  But he’s not.  He’s running against Bill Hedrick.  For Congress.

To help clear-up Calvert’s confusion, we here at Team Hedrick have made this short ‘educational’ video to help clear up the Congressman’s confusion.  

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, we’ve got Calvert running scared.  From the obnoxious neon orange signs that have cropped up all over the district, plus the mailers, radio ads, and TV commercials, Ken Calvert is trying anything to distract voters from looking at his 18-year record of corruption and ineffectiveness.  He knows that voters are looking for leadership they can trust – and Calvert knows that’s not him.

Don’t be fooled by Calvert’s smoke and mirrors.

The choice is clear.  Elect Bill Hedrick, who wants to talk about what’s important to people here at home: creating new jobs, protecting the environment, and improving our education system.  Or Ken Calvert, who wants to talk about…Nancy Pelosi.

Thank you.  On to victory!

Our Speaker

The health care reform bill passed yesterday is very, very far from what we would have liked to see. It isn’t single payer, heck it doesn’t even have a public option. The repercussions for the right to choose and for reproductive rights are odious. But today we have a real health care reform package.  It will require much work in the future, but at least now we have a way forward.

Over the past 15 months, progressives have grown weary of the President’s call for bipartisanship over getting stuff actually done.  But, if this is to be his legacy, he will be enexorably tied to a San Franciscan, our Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. From Mark Greenbaum:

That said, the ratification of health care is an even more impressive victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Faced with an endless litany of institutional roadblocks, false starts, ego-centric Members, and plain political pressures, Pelosi was able to wrangle together just enough votes to push reform to the finish line. It is Pelosi who deserves the most credit for seeing health care through. (HuffPo)

And from the Hill:

Nancy Pelosi showed Sunday why she is one of the most powerful Speakers in history. In shepherding one of the most controversial bills through the House, Pelosi achieved what some thought what was impossible after Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts two months ago.

*** *** ***

By leaning on her caucus, Pelosi got a number of yes votes that put her within range of 216. Some of the biggest “yes” votes in recent days were Reps. Henry Cuellar (Texas), Brian Baird (Wash), Bill Owens (N.Y.), Ciro Rodriguez (Texas), Chris Carney (Pa.), Allen Boyd (Fla.), John Boccieri (Ohio), Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.) and Betsy Markey (Colo.).

*** *** ***

Pelosi has long said climate change is her flagship issue, but it is unclear whether that measure will pass while she is Speaker. It is clear, however, that her legacy as Speaker will be forever tied to healthcare reform.

Predictably, the right-wing is taking out its fury on Speaker Pelosi. The RNC’s website has been temporarily replaced with a Fire Pelosi money ask. Flames and everything. Personally, I like the fact that they have a map with the states that gave the most money for the campaign. Shockingly, the ten largest states have given the most money.  Yay for the statistics majors at the GOP! Oh, and there’s a teabagger Republican candidate running against Pelosi. Dude’s raised a lot of money too. I say, raise a ton more, saturate SF media with your ads. Maybe you’ll hold Pelosi to 75%.

But this weekend, Pelosi proved more about herself than any other period in her time in Congress. It was her that stiffened the spine of the President to actually get a comprehensive health care reform package. If you’d like to help her out, why not give some money to one of our Red to Blue Candidates. Ami Bera, running against Dan Lungren, and Bill Hedrick, running against Ken Calvert, could use some assistance.

Speaker Pelosi Slams Schwarzenegger’s Blatant Use of Stupid

For the duration of the furlough craziness, I’ve had a particular definition of “Stupid.”  (Capitalized, that is.) Specifically, the furloughing of workers paid entirely by federal dollars that ends up losing the state money.

Here’s how it works in one example.  State worker A reviews disability claims. Worker A is a state employee, but his or her salary is paid by the federal government. Arnold, concerned as he is for simplicity over touchy issues like “facts” furloughs Worker A despite the fact that the state saves no money.  Further, the work that Worker A would have done would have pulled down federal dollars into the state, but instead they go unspent.  See…Stupid.

Now, Speaker Pelosi weighs in on all that Stupid:

While California must make tough choices as it works to close its budget deficit, furloughing workers whose salaries are fully-funded through the federal government results in the loss of millions of dollars for our state while harming our neediest citizens.

The Social Security Administration’s Inspector General has found that furloughs of Disability Determination Services workers would cost our state $30.6 million in lost federal funds while delaying $98.5 million per year in disability payments to disabled Californians. California is also dead last among all 50 states when it comes to paying unemployment insurance claims within 21 days, according to the Department of Labor.

The California Congressional Delegation and I met earlier this year with Governor Schwarzenegger and state legislative leaders to ensure that California will continue to receive the federal funds it needs. Enacting this bill, which passed the Legislature with large, bipartisan majorities, is one simple way to strengthen California. I hope the Governor will sign this bill and end all furloughs for workers funded by the federal government.

So, to summarize…state saves $0 Dollars. State loses $30.6 million.  How is this helping the state?  Now, the Legislature has approved a bill to end these furloughs.  Of course, if Arnold had just not pushed for them in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this position. Nonetheless, here we are. Arnold, sign the damn bill, and at least eliminate this one, small bit of Stupid.

Clean Money Now

Now that the Supreme Court has apparently decided that the Calitics Editorial Board’s amicus brief wasn’t all that persuasive in Citizens United, corporate money is now more powerful than ever.  Congress has been nibbling around the edges, suggesting some (possibly Constitutional) reforms that would change the way corporations can approve political spending.  However, they have, as of yet, really considered the one, and really only, way to combat the Citizens United decision: a publicly financed campaign system.  Some big donors are asking Speaker Pelosi to reconsider that:

A coalition of the country’s wealthiest and most politically active campaign donors wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, urging her to support campaign reform efforts in the wake of last month’s Supreme Court decision allowing unrestricted corporate spending on elections.

The 57 donors who wrote the letter include members of the influential Democracy Alliance group, which includes a number of prominent Californians. (CA Watch)

Of course, Congress doesn’t really like big changes like this. While they might not like the status quo, it keeps them in power. And while I’m not trying to be cynical, I kind of am.  Pliticians don’t like change that could up-end their strangle hold on power. And frankly, there’s nothing that would increase the options voters get to choose from more than clean money.

Frankly, with Buckley and Citizens United, clean money is the last best hope to regain control of our government from the corporate interests. It is the people’s force for change, more than any one politician, or party. Don’t expect it to come easy, corporate interests are strong in DC.  But we here in California can make a statement for clean money by approving Prop 15, the pilot program for a clean money election system for Secretary of State.

City Council Person Wears Nancy Pelosi as Stalin to Protest her Visit to Orange County

We’ve got another one here folks in Orange County.  Last Friday Orange County had a huge event, it was the Democratic Party of Orange County’s Annual Truman Awards Dinner and our Keynote Speaker was Nancy Pelosi.  It got our local Republicans in a bit of a tif and a lot of Teabaggers showed up to protest her presence.

We expected protesters, I even wrote about their plans at Daily Kos, but we weren’t expecting this…

City Council member Choi was wearing his City Council badge that night as well, there was no mistaking it was him, thank you to the Liberal OC for that and our local paper, which failed to mention that detail.  They insist there is no bias, sure.

Steven Choi was also seen “posing with another protester who was wearing a rendering depicting Pelosi as an SS Guard” and “including one portraying President Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler together” and yet he defended his actions.

“I’m a Republican Party member and went there to express my disapproval of her policies,” Choi said. “I have big concerns with what is going on with the government pushing down the mandated health issues… As a small businessman it would impact me.”

Choi said a woman who was at the event with the Irvine Republican Council placed the rendering on his back. He described the criticism as a partisan attack.

“They are making a case out of nothing,” Choi said.

Beth Krom is also on the Irvine City Council and she’s running for Congress, thank goodness, and she also had a reaction to her fellow city council person.


   “When I was the Mayor of Irvine and then President Bush came to Irvine, I attended and showed respect for the President despite the many misgivings I had about his policies.”

   “We who hold public office have an obligation to hold ourselves to a high standard when it comes to how we comport ourselves in public. At least that has always been my perspective.”

   “I was utterly disgusted when I saw my City Council colleague Steven Choi, who recently announced plans to run for the State Assembly, parading around the lobby of the Hilton Hotel with a picture on his back depicting Speaker Pelosi as Josef Stalin.”

   “Those around him had images of the Speaker and the President as Nazis. I’d like to say this behavior is out of character for Council member Choi, but this is the same Council member who accused a City Council candidate of having ties to Islamic Terrorists without any basis. My guess is that he also had a hand in the mailers that went out during my 2006 race for Mayor that showed me as Chairman Mao.”

   “There seems to be no limit to the derision and division that Councilman Choi will advance in the name of his “republican values.”

Her opponent is John Campbell, ex used car salesman and birther, John Galt loving Republican.  We’ve got lots of those.

I was there Friday night with my Husband Gary Pritchard, who ran for State Senate last year.  We think Orange County can be blue, we’ve got over 500,000 Democrats here, more than 20 States in the US.  “The OC” can be a force to be reckoned with and the extremism has become even more extreme just as many here have noticed over the last year.  

Nancy Pelosi gave a stirring speech about Health Care Reform and I know many here aren’t quite enamored with her.  The disappointment with Democrats in Congress is understandable.  We can’t all have Bernie Sanders (although it would be a good goal to attain).  But it certainly doesn’t mean we have to tolerate the Steven Choi’s of the world.

Beth Krom deserves to oust John Campbell, we’ve had enough of the extreme of the extreme.  So please support Beth Krom and if you live in the OC, let Steven Choi know that it is NOT okay to express himself in this way representing his city and position, especially one that is supposedly “bi-partisan”.

And since I was lucky enough to attend the Truman Dinner, Gary sat on the planning committee (The highlight for me was finally meeting California Assemblyman Jose Solorio) I’m posting some of the photos I took of protesters.

I would post my lousy video of Nancy giving her keynote speech but it’s only a minute and a half and it looks like I took it during a massive earthquake.

It cuts in where she’s speaking of a proposal by Truman for universal health care by the way.

MICRA Reform From On High?

I’ve written a couple of times about MICRA, a provision of California law that limits non-econimic damages, pain & suffering and the like, to $250,000. That law was passed in 1975, and the amount has not been updated since that time. Litigation costs and inflation have made that number look paltry today. In fact, few attorneys will take malpractice claims. The expenses they have to front aren’t covered by the cases that they win. And so, it isn’t surprising today to find families who have lost a family member due to malpractice, even shockingly obvious cases, unable to find an attorney. As a result, doctors that would have been booted out of the profession by a malpractice suit, continue to practice.

Of course, the response to that could be that regulators could watch doctors and ensure quality.  And if wishes were horses, I’d have more mustangs than the Nevada herds. The fact is that in the last thirty years, government oversight in all things consumer has been sorely lacking in the state and the country as a whole. Toys covered with lead are stocked on our shelves, and doctors avoid losing their licenses all the time.  Is this the system that we want to lay 100% of our faith in? Yes, we should have a robust regulatory scheme for doctors, but we also must recognize that doctors can’t always self-regulate. Courts serve a purpose.

And while it’s seemingly not a popular message in Sacramento these days, MICRA needs to repealed or reformed.  Thankfully, consumers have an ally in Speaker Pelosi.

The version of a national health care bill that Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through the House contains a provision that would push – but not quite compel – California and other states with malpractice damage caps to repeal them.(SacBee 11/30/09)

Dan Walters and I share one thing, we are both a teensy bit cynical. He sees this as a gift to lawyers, while I see it as a way to balance out the power differential between patient and medical infrastructure. Not quite the most optimal way, but if President Obama is going to push on tort deform, at least we can quit focusing on gifts to industry and instead try to figure out how we can structure a system to actually achieve policy goals.  Ha – good luck on that one, right?

California desperately needs to change MICRA, and if Speaker Pelosi can give the state a kick in the butt, well I say kick away Madame Speaker.

A Woman’s Place Is in the House…of Representatives

( – promoted by shayera)

I’ve been saying it for over a month: We need to leave Afghanistan as soon as safely possible. Our brave men and women have performed admirably there. Now it’s time to bring them home.

In fact, a lot of Democrats have been saying that lately. So when Gen. Stanley McChrystal recently proposed sending up to 40,000 additional troops there, California’s own Nancy Pelosi stepped up in her role as Speaker of the House and said escalation would be a tough sell for some Democrats.

That’s when the National Republican Congressional Committee turned an honest debate into a shameful display of sexism.

The committee sent out a press release attacking Speaker Pelosi for her honest assessment of the situation. The release included the following line:

If Nancy Pelosi’s failed economic policies are any indicator of the effect she may have on Afghanistan, taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place.

As Speaker Pelosi observed in her own defense, it’s been decades since that kind of blatant sexism and talk of “putting women in their place” was accepted in public discourse. Today you can get fired for saying something like that — unless, apparently, you work for the Republican Party.

We’ve always known from the Republicans’ regressive tax proposal, the erosion of median income under their administrations, and the way they vigorously defend our broken health care system that the Republicans would love to undo as much progress as they could. But this kind of behavior simply has no place in our politics, and we should all thank Nancy Pelosi for saying so.

But the Republicans aren’t just wrong to use such prejudiced, long-discredited language. They’re also wrong to promote blind trust in Gen. McChrystal, whose role in covering up the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman is undeniable.

General McChrystal certainly has many years of dutiful service to our country. That does not give him — or the Republican Party — the authority to put the Speaker of the House in “her place.” We have the people of San Francisco and her colleagues in the House of Representatives to thank for putting Speaker Pelosi in the very place she needs to be.

John Burton is chairman of the California Democratic Party. Sign up to join the Party at CAdem.org.