Wednesday, January 5, 2011

19 Democrats vote against Nancy Pelosi

I've said it before, having pelosi as the minority leader is the very best thing that can happen... for Republicans. Under her leadership the democrats lost 63 seats in the House. Under her further leadership the minority will become even more of a minority in 2012.

I did find it interesting that pelosi says the new priority of the democrats is creating jobs for the American people. If that had been their priority for the last 6 years they wouldn't have had their asses handed to them in November. But I also think that she is considering that if more people are working and paying taxes, congress will have more of our money to spend. It's funny, I don't think pelosi has any clue about what it takes to work for your money in this Country. She doesn't understand that many people live paycheck to paycheck and don't really appreciate the lavish lifestyle that she has been living at our expense.

Her expensive taste in booze and food and her extensive use of Military aircraft have made me despise her. Her radical liberal policies are the straw that broke the camel's back. The democrats need to keep her around as a reminder of what the elections in November were about, excess at our expense...

By John Bresnahan & Jonathan Allen - Politico

Nearly 20 Democrats abandoned their party’s pick for speaker of the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a sign of their concerns about supporting the unpopular former speaker and of the difficulty she will have in marshaling her forces in legislative battles to come in the next two years.

Pelosi brushed off the 18 votes for other lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon — 11 of them for North Carolina’s Heath Shuler — in a brief exchange with POLITICO

“We’re excited about the votes I got,” said the California Democrat, who handed over the speaker’s gavel to John Boehner of Ohio at a ceremony following the roll call vote.

Still, the anti-Pelosi tally dwarfed the number of protest votes cast against leaders of both parties in the recent past, which never break into double digits.

Pelosi’s allies also sought to downplay the importance of the anti-Pelosi votes.

“I think some people had to some venting,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who narrowly won re-election but called out Pelosi’s name when he was asked for his vote. “

In addition to Shuler’s 11 votes, two Democrats — Reps. Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.) and John Barrow (Ga.) — voted for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); Reps. Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa voted for each other; Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) voted for Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.); Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.) voted for Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and Kurt Schrader (Ore.) voted for Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

The first anti-Pelosi vote during the alphabetical roll call came from Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.). He rose to answer the call of his name and declared loudly and clearly “Heath Shuler!”

Shuler, who voted for himself, told POLITICO that Democrats will have to follow a more moderate path “if we’re going to go back out and win a majority.”

But Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who was in the Capitol for the opening of the 112th Congress Wednesday, said Democrats made the right decision late last year in tapping Pelosi to remain their leader even after they lost the majority under her leadership in the midterm election.

“I’m happy that she decided to stay,” said Solis, a former California colleague of Pelosi’s. “She represents the heart of the Democratic Party and is very principled.”

Pelosi aides and allies insisted that she did not whip the symbolic vote or take any action to tamp down opposition, and they privately claim that they had “no idea” how many of her colleagues would vote for other candidates.

Democratic sources said California Rep. George Miller, Pelosi’s right hand man, was making calls on her behalf to try to hold down opposition to her on the floor. Getting an accurate whip count was next to impossible Tuesday, as Pelosi opponents largely stayed away from a closed-door caucus meeting for House Democrats.

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) told POLITICO right before the roll call that he would vote “present.”

“My constituents are not very enamored of the minority leader to be, and that was a pretty strong message sent in the election,” he said.

Pelosi has consistently stated that she has “no regrets” over the Democrat’s 63-seat loss on Election Day - the worst suffered by either party in over 70 years - and despite her unpopularity nationally, she remains a powerful force within the House Democratic Caucus and among party faithful.

Backed by liberals - the most important faction among House Democrats - Pelosi easily defeated Shuler’s challenge, pulling 150 votes. Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the number two House Democrat, did not challenge Pelosi for the top spot, instead finding himself running against Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) for minority whip. Pelosi then forged a deal to defuse that battle while keeping both men in leadership.

Intra-party dissent over the speaker’s vote is rare but not new.

In 1997, at the start of the 105th Congress, nine Republicans opposed the reelection of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) by voting “present” or supporting other candidates. Gingrich was reelected, but the vote demonstrated growing unhappiness with the Georgia Republican in GOP ranks. Gingrich stepped down as speaker and retiring in 1998, following Republican losses in the mid-term elections.

In her remarks Wednesday, as she handed the gavel to Boehner, Pelosi vowed to with the GOP on restoring the U.S. economy, where possible, although she warned that her party will not violate its own principles on deciding whether to support any Republican initiatives.

“Our most important job is to fight for American jobs,” Pelosi said. “And so Democrats will judge what comes before Congress by whether it creates jobs, strengthens our middle class, and reduces the deficit – not burdening future generations with debt.”

Pelosi added: “When the new speaker of the House, John Boehner, and the new Republican majority, come forward with solutions that address these American challenges, you will find in us a willing partner. When I was first elected speaker, I called the House to order on behalf of America’s children. As I now prepare to hand over the gavel, I know one thing above all else. We have stood for those children and for their families—for their health, their education, the safety of the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the food they eat.”

In addition to Shuler and Altmire, the nine others who voted for Shuler were Reps. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Larry Kissell of North Carolina, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike Michaud of Maine and Mike Ross of Arkansas.

Pelosi’s camp was ready to put the vote behind her.

“Democrats are looking forward and our top priority is creating jobs for the American people,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. “As we begin the 112th Congress, each proposal will be measured by a simple test: Will it create jobs? Will it strengthen our middle class? Will it reduce our deficit?”