House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday the debt limit proposal heading to the floor “will not win with Democratic votes.”
“I’m not speaking for every Member in my Caucus, but I feel confident if they’re going to have 217 votes, whatever it is, they’re going to have to be Republican votes,” the California Democrat said at a briefing.
Democratic leaders are whipping against Speaker John Boehner’s proposal. Some Members quietly maintain that no Democrat will vote for the plan, although Pelosi would not go that far when asked. Even if the Ohio Republican’s measure passes the House, Pelosi maintained “there is absolutely no way” it will pass the Senate and become law.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor he will take up the Boehner bill after House passage and vote it down — a move that is expected Thursday evening.
Pelosi also noted the pressure that Boehner is facing from his right flank to push stringent cuts in order to increase the debt ceiling, which some in the GOP staunchly oppose. She suggested that Congressional leaders “go back to the table and negotiate an agreement that is truly about reducing the deficit, not undermining the middle class in our country.”
“Whether that is the proud product of the leadership of the Republican Party or something they’re dragged kicking and screaming to do, I can’t tell you,” Pelosi told reporters. “All I know is whatever way it gets to the floor is a grave disservice to the American people, the middle class and to America’s future.”
Pelosi also said she “wasn’t surprised” that Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) announced he was stepping down amid allegations that he forced an “unwanted sexual encounter” with a teenage woman. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders talked privately with Wu after news of the allegations broke last week and were hoping to avoid another scandalous distraction like the one involving former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) that rocked the Caucus earlier this summer. Weiner stepped down three weeks after revelations of his sexually charged online communications were revealed, and Pelosi told reporters Thursday, “I would’ve had it much sooner.”
Wu announced his resignation on Tuesday and said he will officially vacate his seat once the debt limit issue is resolved. Asked about her colleague’s announcement, Pelosi responded tersely, “It’s the least thing on my” list.
“Let me see how much lower I can fit,” she added. “He’s resigning from office. So, what we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today. And I’ve said what I’m going to say about that; he’s resigned.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.