Nancy Pelosi Rants About ‘Reckless’ Republicans While Visiting New York

Nancy Pelosi today.
Nancy Pelosi today.

In House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s view, the Republicans leading the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act are waging an ongoing war with the institution they serve.

“President Washington, … when he left office, he cautioned against political parties that are at war with their own government. And that’s who they are,” Ms. Pelosi declared this morning, repeating a point she’s made previously. “They’re at war with their own government.”

Ms. Pelosi was visiting New York today to push for a women-focused economic agenda, but found herself giving an extended monologue about the partial federal government shutdown instead. “This is so totally irresponsible and reckless,” she lamented at one point. “But I haven’t come here to talk to you about that today. It just so happens that’s where we are.”

Ms. Pelosi blamed the gridlock currently engulfing Washington entirely on her Republican colleagues in the House. Indeed, to stress how far Democrats were willing to bend in order to keep government open, Ms. Pelosi said Democrats would accept a level of government spending that was “practically immoral.”

“The Democrats in the House have said, ‘We don’t like the Republican number but we are willing to support it to give the speaker the votes that he needs to bring the bill to the floor,” she said. “But they won’t take yes for an answer … We said, ‘We’ll give you the votes for a number that we really think is practically immoral.’ But the fact is they have the majority so lets go forward.”

Of course, government is not currently going forward as House Republicans are demanding President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation be defunded or delayed in order to fund the government–a condition Democrats universally say is a non-starter.

“They had two things they wanted to do not shut down the government,” Ms. Pelosi said. “One was, ‘We won’t shut down government if you overturn the Affordable Care Act.’ What? What?” she asked incredulously. “Okay, that was never going to happen. Then they said, ‘Well, if you postpone it for a year or under-fund it.’ That was never going to happen.”

Ms. Pelosi was initially responding to a question on the importance of immigration reform and ultimately swung back to her main point: negotiating legislation in her chamber is difficult because of the majority party’s ideological inclinations.

“This is a big deal, but it’s philosophical,” she said. “You can make the case for all of these excellent initiatives. But if you don’t believe in the role of government, you’re just talking to a wall.”

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