Pelosi Predicts Climate Change to Obama’s Desk ‘Pretty Soon’

Posted May 4, 2010 at 8:49am

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), during a Tuesday morning speech to a crowd of labor and environmental groups, blasted Wall Street and called on the Senate to follow the House by passing financial regulatory reform and a climate change bill.

“Some people on Wall Street thought it was OK to privatize all the gain and nationalize all the risk,” Pelosi said. “The party is over.”

Pelosi said she is “proud” of the Senate for moving forward on climate change, and added, “I think we can pretty soon put legislation on the president’s desk.”

Her remarks came at the kickoff of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference at the Washington Hilton. The conference was organized by the Blue Green Alliance, a partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations.

Pelosi took the stage to enthusiastic applause, a standing ovation and chants of “best Speaker ever.” Terence M. O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, introduced her as a “warrior for working people,” citing health care, jobs and immigration legislation among her successes.

“She is the first line of defense against those who still want to destroy the union movement and its progressive ideals,” O’Sullivan said.

The House passed a financial reform bill in December and climate change legislation in June. The Senate voted last week to begin debating a financial regulatory overhaul.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said climate change is a top priority this year, and Pelosi told that crowd that “the Senate is very close [thanks to] your advocacy.”

“Now we must follow up with the action taken by the House last June to pass [the] Waxman-Markey [bill]. That was historic legislation,” Pelosi said, citing the House’s climate change bill, which was sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

“It’s a national security issue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Pelosi added. “It’s a health issue for our children to reduce the emissions in the air … and it’s a moral responsibility to protect God’s planet. That’s why the evangelicals help us.”

A climate change law would also create jobs, she said, especially for a future generation of Americans who have not yet worked.

“Clearly left to its own devices, the economy had its ups and downs, and we are all supporters of the free-market system. But we want to bring all of the elements involved … together and … in creating good jobs and green jobs, we are honoring the vows of our Founding Fathers,” she said. “We must be first, and, therefore, we intend to be first and we will be first.”

Pelosi also referenced President Barack Obama’s “grander plan” for the nation, which she said includes middle-class tax cuts, deficit reduction and job creation, particularly in the health care, education and green energy sectors.

Of the health care reform battle, the Speaker said: “It was a struggle because we were up against those who refused to rein in the insurance companies. That was the big difference,” she said. “It wasn’t about this agreeing on the rhetoric, it was about disagreeing about reining in the insurance companies.”

Finally, she called on the crowd to get involved.

“Nothing grand on this scale happens without your advocacy on Capitol Hill. You have been leaders in shaping policy,” she said. “Nothing is more eloquent to a Member of Congress than the voice of his or her own constituency.”