Congressional Republicans this week reached new heights of “obsession” over the Obama administration’s handling of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, as GOP leaders fought to stoke controversy over the September attack that left four Americans dead.
“The obsession that some of my Republican colleagues have in the House…doesn’t look like it’s on the path to find any solutions, but it is to keeping an issue alive,” Pelosi said on Melissa Harris-Perry Saturday. A House committee hearing on the Hill over the Benghazi attacks this week fueled that fire, along with a news report that surfaced which reveals how the White House shaped its talking points in the wake of the attacks. Pelosi dismissed the criticism in her conversation with Harris-Perry, calling them untrue and “subterfuge.”
The theme of GOP obstruction extended throughout Capitol Hill, Pelosi said, with everything from immigration reform to gun control. A major sticking point in the latest committee markups on immigration reform is whether or not Congress will allow gay Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners. While remaining optimistic that reform as a whole would pass, Pelosi stopped short of expressing confidence that immigration could make its way through Congress.
“Confidence is hard to use when you’re dealing with House Republicans,” she said.
Pelosi did however make clear that she and fellow Democrats consider that fight for gun control reform will continue, even after the Senate last month rejected a bipartisan bill that expanded background checks for gun sales. ”It’s appalling that it could not pass the Senate,” Pelosi said about the failed measure to expand background checks. But she was clear in her message to fellow gun control advocates: “We’re not ever backing down.” Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her gun control lobby group have raised a combined $11 million dollars in the past four months.
According to a recent Gallup poll, guns are actually near the bottom of American priorities; voters still view the economy as their top concern. Yet, House Republicans passed the Working Families Flexibility Act on Wednesday, a bill which allows federal overtime laws to be loosened. Private-sector employees who work more than 40 hours per week could receive “comp” time rather than pay from their companies. “It’s just another manifestation of more for us, less for you. Happy Mother’s Day,” said Pelosi.
Pelosi was instrumental in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. Starting Oct. 1, Americans can begin to sign up for the plan. Regardless of the law being upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, the law is constantly challenged by Republicans.
House GOP leader Eric Cantor even tweeted on Wednesday, “The House will vote next week for a full repeal of #Obamacare.” Pelosi seemed as unfazed by another repeal vote as she was by Cantor’s tweets. “Well, we don’t see it in the context of Eric’s tweets,” she said Saturday. “We see it in the context of a great, transformative moment.”
And what about the possibility of a woman being elected president, and the future for women leaders? Pelosi has been vocal in her support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s rumored presidential run in 2016. When asked about Sanford’s use of her literal cardboard form in his complaint Pelosi said, “I won’t even dignify it.” However, Pelosi did say that tactics like those can dissuade women from running in the future because they’ll think, “Why should I subject myself to the silliness of these guys?”
One of the biggest questions Harris-Perry asked leader Pelosi centered around the midterm elections, and whether or not Pelosi would seek the speakership if Democrats regained control of the house in 2014.
“You know what, one step at a time,” Pelosi responded.
See the second and third segments of the discussion below.