Pelosi Dismisses Rift With Reid on Stimulus

Posted February 12, 2009 at 4:42pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday dismissed the idea that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled the rug out from under her by formally announcing an agreement on economic stimulus legislation without her consent. Reid appeared before television cameras Wednesday to announce a deal on the $790 billion package. Pelosi said she approved of the announcement but soon discovered that rank-and-file House Democrats were upset that a deal was being publicized before they had been briefed on it. The communication glitch, which delayed the first formal meeting of the conference committee by more than two hours as Pelosi shared details of the plan with her Caucus, gave the impression that Reid was ready to unveil the stimulus deal without Pelosi’s green light. “No, that’s not it,” Pelosi said. “Reid was announcing what the Senate had come to agreement on, which was by and large what we had all agreed to earlier. But until we could all see the language of that agreement, we were not going into agreement.” Pelosi said that once her Caucus saw the language on how money would be spent for school construction, everybody was on board. “Around here, language means a lot. One person’s understanding of a spoken description might vary from another’s,” she said. “We had to remove all doubt that the purpose of the money was reflected in the language that was there.” School construction funds were “one of our top priorities on the House side,” the Speaker said. “I think it’s a good outcome,” Pelosi said. “We were able to find our common ground.”