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Nancy Pelosi Snaps At Reporter After He Asks Her About Retirement

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a major challenge in working to get two bills passed for Joe Biden’s agenda and she is getting testy.

The Speaker has postponed the vote one time already but “so far so good” she said for a vote on the bipartisan, smaller infrastructure bill on Thursday.

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Still, there is the major contention in her party and a threat from progressives to sink the vote if the larger, $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, is not done in tandem with the infrastructure bill.

She said that the massive reconciliation bill “was a culmination of my service in Congress because it was about the children. The children, the children, the children.” and said that there should not be any “doubt” that “we will have a reconciliation bill.”

“Their health. It’s about health. Education. The economic security of their families. A clean, safe environment in which they could thrive,” she said. “And a world at peace in which they could succeed. This is more about the domestic first four parts of that. So removal of doubt in anyone’s mind that we will not have a reconciliation. We will have a reconciliation bill.”

That brought Punchbowl News founder Jake Sherman to ask the Speaker “You said this is the culmination of your time in Congress. Are you trying to — culmination means the end of an experience.”

“Get out of here,” Pelosi snapped back. “Get out of here.”

“You said it, not me,” Sherman responded.

“Yeah, no, but of course, the Affordable Care Act was remarkable and I take some proprietary interest on this,” she said. “But in terms of finally seeing a time where we can think in a large way about our children, our people with disabilities, our moms.”

“I mean, I’m a mom with five children. When I was young and was raising my children, people don’t know, this is a challenging job. Even one child or two. I didn’t even wash my face some days. In fact, I liked it that way, but the fact is, is that we have to – if we’re going to be really building back better, we have to give women the opportunity to work in the workplace, and that’s about childcare, home health care, universal pre-K. Family medical leave,” the Speaker said.

“And like that. In other countries, most developed countries have that. We don’t. We will. And that is – each one of those is something we fought over the years for. And now it’s coming together in a way that is transformative. Not incremental but transformative to what we’re doing on the infrastructure side of things. They go together very well,” she said.

Speaking of the infrastructure vote she said, “We’re on a path to win the vote … I don’t want to even consider any options other than that.”

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But it is tough to see what that path is as moderates, like Rep. Stephanie Murphy, appear to be imovable on the major spending bill.

“Delaying the bill isn’t going to make me any more or less likely to support reconciliation,” she said in a Democrat caucus meeting a source in the room said to Washington Post Congressional correspondent Jacqueline Alemany. “I am a legislator not a lemming.”

“I think that it’s critically important that we demonstrate to the American people that we can govern tomorrow by passing the infrastructure bill and delivering a key component of Pres. Biden’s agenda,” she said to CNN anchor Jake Tapper.

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She said it would be a “breach of trust” if Speaker Pelosi were to delay the vote again on Thursday.

But progressives have said they will not vote for the infrastructure bill if they do not get a vote on reconciliation and get it passed.

“Let me be clear: bringing the so-called bipartisan infrastructure plan to a vote without the #BuildBackBetter Act at the same time is a betrayal,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib said on Twitter. “We will hold the line and vote it down.”

“This is not the time for half measures or to go back on our promises,” she said.

And New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hammered some of her fellow Democrats when she appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC Tuesday.

“We have a vast majority of Democrats, about 96%, that are in agreement of the entire agenda. Now, a very small handful of Democrats, about 4% of the party, are trying to essentially split these two priorities up,” she said. “And I personally don’t think it’s an accident that the ones that a lot of lobbyists love are in the much smaller, underfunded bill, that don’t make prescription drugs easier to buy and more affordable, etcetera.”

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And she said she believes that she knows the plan that Democrat leadership has.

“What they want is to split them apart,” she said. “force a vote on the first one, and because we have such narrow margins in the Senate and the House, the read that we have is that they’ll just dump the second one. Leave the other one out to dry, and just never actually vote on it.”

The 30-year-old representative, and many of her progressive colleagues, believe the only way forward is to pass both bills at the same time.

“The way that we bring our two parts of the caucus together,” she said, “is by saying, ‘You know what? My bill is bound up in your bill, and your bill is bound up in my bill.’”

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