- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2015

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she has no sympathy “at all” for Republican leaders who’ve dealt with a fractious caucus and must navigate a messy race to replace Speaker John A. Boehner, who decided to resign rather contend with the divisions any longer.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat who served as speaker from 2007 to 2011, said she might not be able to get every member of her caucus to agree on issues, but that they tended to rally around positions before discord spills onto the chamber floor.

“We build consensus,” she told reporters. “We succeeded very well, even succeeding under the leadership of [Republican] President George W. Bush.”

She insisted that Democrats worked with Mr. Bush at times and pushed back in unison at others, before shepherding major health care reforms and other bills under President Obama.

“We had a very successful agenda,” she said.

Now faced with GOP majorities in both chambers, she said House Democrats will help Mr. Obama reject a defense authorization bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate on Wednesday but uses an overseas war fund to get around so-called sequester caps.

“We will sustain the veto in the House,” she said.

Mr. Obama and Democrats want to bust the sequester and see dollar-for-dollar raises to both defense and domestic spending.

With her remarks, Mrs. Pelosi was trying to distance her style of leadership from that of her Republican counterparts, who must contend with the loud demands of a conservative minority in the GOP caucus even as they seek to replace Mr. Boehner, the Ohio Republican who will step down at the end of the month.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus announced Wednesday it planned to back Rep. Daniel Webster, Florida Republican, over Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the current majority leader and establishment favorite to succeed Speaker John A. Boehner.

Mr. McCarthy is expected to garner a majority of support when the House Republican conference casts secret ballotsThursday for speaker. But with more than 30 conservatives opposing him, the California Republican would fall short of the 218 votes needed to win a floor vote scheduled for Oct. 29.

Republicans hold a 246-seat majority in the House.

Mr. McCarthy remains the favorite, though Mrs. Pelosi had little to say about their relationship.

“We’re Californians, we share that background,” she said. “I wish whoever is the new speaker well.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide