Pelosi is expected to announce whether she will stay on as the top House Democrat Wednesday.
“Pete Sessions said that they would pick up 16 seats, these Democrats defeated 16 Republican incumbents. And that’s, by the way, better than the 14 that we defeated back in 2008, which was a watershed election,” Israel said. That year, Democrats increased the size of their majority from 235 members to 257 members.
Pelosi and Israel both touted the diversity of the caucus, as they have in the past.
“Together the diversity of our caucus celebrates the strength of our nation. This caucus is a picture of America,” Pelosi said.
However, both upped their praise of its place from the most diverse in U.S. history to the most diverse in the “history of civilization.”
“The Republican caucus, if you look at it, looks like a rerun of the show ‘Mad Men.’ Our caucus looks like America,” Israel said.
After outstanding races are called, Democrats will pick up seven or eight net seats, a modest gain compared to earlier expectations of taking back control of the House that Pelosi set with her slogan, “Drive for 25.”
Pelosi conceded, “We may not have the majority, we may not have the gavel, but we have unity,” and said House Democrats were ready to work with President Barack Obama.
The California Democrat offered effusive praise of Israel.
“When I asked him to take this responsibility to serve our country and our colleagues, I said to all of you that he is the gold standard of a member of Congress,” Pelosi said. “He knows the policy. He cares about the American people. And that drives him to do the politics, to increase our numbers, to pass legislation that takes us forward, to improve the lives of the American people.”
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.