How Nancy Pelosi Shaped History

by | Nov 18, 2022 | Politics

This article is part of HuffPost’s biweekly politics newsletter. Click here to subscribe.Nancy Pelosi’s career as Democratic House leader is full of moments when she made a difference in history ― sometimes in front of the cameras, sometimes behind closed doors. Among the latter was a key event in the debate over the Affordable Care Act, at one of several junctures when its very survival was in doubt.It happened in January 2010, after Democrats had lost a special election in Massachusetts that left them without the 60th vote they needed to overcome a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Democrats were pretty unpopular by that point, and after a year of deliberating so was their health care bill. Some high-profile Democrats, including members of Pelosi’s caucus, wanted to cut their losses, either by passing something a lot less ambitious or giving up altogether.AdvertisementPelosi was having none of it. She met with individual members in small groups or one on one, both to get a clear sense of who was having doubts and to make sure none of them defected publicly. At one caucus meeting, she listened patiently while skittish members urged the party to abandon what they now believed was a “suicide mission.” Then Pelosi took her turn at the microphone, describing the Democrats’ predicament as a test of their resolve ― and, even more importantly, their chance to carry on a crusade that dated back to Franklin Roosevelt’s day.“I just felt like the momentum was heading in the direction of surrender,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who was then a relatively junior member of the House, told me many years later. “Pelosi just did not allow it to happen. By sheer will, she turned that room around. People like me, I still wanted to do it but I don’t know that I had the confidence to stand up to this tidal wave. She breathed confidence into everybody in that room who wanted to stay the course.”By that point, Pelosi was said to be 20, 30 or even 40 votes short, depending on whose count you believed. All over Washington, even inside the White House, political observers and operators openly expressed doubt that she could rebuild a majority. But she did. And although “Obamacare” remained unpopular for years, quite possibly enough to deprive Democrats of their House majority in 2010, the backlash to Republican repeal efforts returned the House to Democratic control in 2018. Along the way, it helped 20 million people to get health insurance while enshrining legal protections for people with preexisting conditions.Advertisement“We had an opportunity of a generation,” Pelosi told me in an interview afterward, in an echo of what she’d said to her caucus in 2010. “We were not passing it by.” Pelosi’s Thursday announcement that …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This