House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is tired of her “vulnerable” (read: freshman, or up for re-election) Democratic friends being targeted by the right-wing for their controversial views and votes, particularly on health care. Which is why she’s reportedly told her Congressional colleagues that the House will not take up any “controversial” bills in 2010 unless the Senate acts first. And you can bet that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — or ENDA, or UAFA (or any immigration reform), or repealing DOMA — falls into that category. Reports The Hill:
The Speaker recently assured her freshman lawmakers and other vulnerable members of her caucus that a vote on immigration reform is not looming despite a renewed push from the White House and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The House will not move on the issue until the upper chamber passes a bill, Pelosi told the members.
But according to Democrats who have spoken to Pelosi, the Speaker has expanded that promise beyond immigration, informing Democratic lawmakers that the Senate will have to move first on a host of controversial issues before she brings them to the House floor.
“The Speaker has told members in meetings that we’ve done our jobs,” a Democratic leadership aide said. “And that next year the Senate’s going to have to prove what it can accomplish before we go sticking our necks out any further.”
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the president of the freshman class, said that Pelosi came to last Wednesday’s freshman breakfast to deliver that message, and that it was met with wide spread approval.
“I think freshmen, particularly, are not enamored of the idea of being asked to walk the plank on a controversial item if the Senate is not going to take any action,” Connolly said.
Pelosi’s promise could dim the prospects for other White House priorities as well, including the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) — known as “card check” — and the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” prohibition on gays serving openly in the military.
Curious, because weren’t Reps. Jared Polis and Tammy Baldwin saying they think ENDA and DADT are failed efforts in 2009, but at-bat for 2010? Maybe they’ve got their ears to the ground in the Senate, and know those bills will see movement there. Or maybe they just haven’t received Pelosi’s memo yet.
But if the report is true, it’s clear that Pelosi still thinks gay rights legislation is too risque to engage in, after spending so much capital convincing voters to back lawmakers’ health care reform plans. Sounds like another Democrat who has our backs, eh?