OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has taken aim at California Gov. Gavin Newsom after he chastised his party for being absent on abortion rights.
“Democrats have failed to target Republicans,” he said about his own party on Wednesday.
“Where is the Democratic Party – where’s the party?” he said. “Why aren’t we calling this out? This is a concerted, coordinated effort and, yes, they’re winning. We need to stand up. Where is the counter offensive?”
The Speaker spoke with “Face The Nation” on CBS on Sunday and pushed back on the governor’s comments.
“I have no idea why anybody would make that statement unless they were unaware of the fight that has been going on,” the Speaker said of the California governor.
“The fact is that we have been fighting for a woman’s right to choose – and that is to choose. We have been fighting against the Republicans in the Congress constantly,” she said.
“This is a constant fight that we’ve had for generations – decades I should say, in my case, in the Congress,” she said. “The science hasn’t changed, but the court changed.”
The host, Margaret Brennan, asked Pelosi why the Democrats never codified Roe V Wade into law when they could have.
“Back when Democrats held majorities in the House and the Senate in 2009 when you were Speaker, President Obama was asked about codifying Roe v. Wade and said ‘abortion is a moral and ethic issue’ and ‘not the highest legislative priority,” she said to the Speaker.
“Do you think it was a mistake for him – for other presidents – not to push harder when Democrats had the majority?” she said.
“I think that this is a waste of time. The fact is in 09 we really did not have a pro-choice Democratic party,’ Pelosi explained. ‘I had to fight against some of the people who did not want to pass the Affordable Care Act because they were concerned it would enable more freedom of choice,” Pelosi hit back.
“Right now we do have a pro-choice Democratic Congress and we passed the law months ago,” she said.
But they did not pass a law. They passed a bill in the House that never had a chance to be passed in the Senate.
Speaker Pelosi responds to California Gov. Newsom criticism of Democrats for not fighting for abortion rights: “I have no idea why anybody would make that statement unless they were unaware of the fight that has been going on.” pic.twitter.com/WPzycSrvHE
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 8, 2022
Pelosi went on to pressure Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to end the filibuster to get the bill passed.
“Two more – one or two more senators could sweep back the filibuster rule for this purpose, and then women would have a right to choose,” the Speaker said.
“This is about something so serious and so personal and so disrespectful of women,” she said. “So, the fact is, let’s keep our eye on the ball. The ball is in the court of those justices.”
“I don’t think there’s a good outcome but there’s a better outcome as far as this is concerned,” she said.
But even if they ended the filibuster, White House Press Secretary said they still would not have the votes to pass the bill into law.
The press secretary spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One as she traveled with the president to Alabama.
“So, the President spoke pretty passionately on the tarmac about the Alito draft being an affront to basic rights. But he also said he was not ready to commit to ending the filibuster to codify Roe. Why?” a reporter said.
“And is there a disconnect here between the passion and what needs — what he believes needs to be done?” they said.
Her answer was that there were not enough votes to codify Roe V Wade into law even with no filibuster.
“Well, first, let me say the President’s position is that we need to codify Roe, and that is what he has long called on Congress to act on,” the press secretary said.
“What is also true is that there has been a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act which would do exactly that, and there were not even enough votes, even if there was no filibuster, to get that done.
“So, I would note, in his written statement that we released this morning — I’m just going to reiterate what he said in this statement. He said, “…if the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose” — to do exactly that. “It will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation.” And that was speaking to exactly where we are with the votes,” she said.
“I would note that while we’ve been in the air, Leader Schumer noted that he had plans to bring this up for a vote,” she said.