You would think House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would have been resting up before last night’s marathon “No bill, no break” sit-in protest on the House floor. But there she was out in her home state of California, sitting down for a recently pre-taped interview with comedian Chelsea Handler.
Pelosi began by talking up the “awesome power” of the Speaker of the House, a position she was the first woman to hold before Republicans took back the lower chamber. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) now holds the gavel.
Asked by Handler how she thinks Ryan is doing in the role, Pelosi laughed before saying she wishes he would use his “awesome power” to bring to the floor two bills on gun control measures — expanding background checks and keeping people on the terrorist no-fly list from being able to purchase guns — along with comprehensive immigration reform. “We have the votes,” Pelosi insisted, hitting Ryan for blocking the measures “even though the public and the [House] members” want them to pass.
Though the Supreme Court had not yet decided, through a 4-4 tie vote, to undo President Obama’s executive action on immigration when the interview was taped, Handler wanted Pelosi to explain why Republicans are so against the president making things happen on his own.
“Because they oppose President Obama,” Pelosi said, pointing out that he has not taken any more executive action than previous presidents. Because “Congress would not act” on something like immigration reform, which has bipartisan support from regular Americans, Pelosi defended his decision to do “what little he could do” through executive action. Now, thanks to a divided Supreme Court that is still missing a ninth justice thanks to Republican obstructionism, even that progress has been reversed.
“How is that legal?” Handler asked of the ongoing efforts to prevent Judge Merrick Garland from even getting a hearing in the Senate. As Pelosi began to quote Abraham Lincoln in response, Handler joked, “Were you friends with him?”
Holding the will of the people above all else, Pelosi said, “The public will make its statement in the next election when we elect the first woman president of the United States, then things will be different.”
“I look forward to that day,” Handler said.
As of 7 a.m. Thursday morning, Pelosi remained in the House chamber with her Democratic colleagues, telling reporters, “We’re not taking a break from this effort. We will not rest.”