If There Isn’t a DADT Repeal In 2010, Blame Nancy Pelosi’s Definition of ‘Controversial’


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?

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  • Brian NJ

    Yea: A gay vet sticks his neck out for America, and every other body part, and the Democratic Party can’t return the favor. I thing gays should stay home to 2010 to prove what it means to break a promise.

  • trig

    So its boils down to them just trying to keep their job? Ok.

  • Cam

    What cowards. Party above principles.

  • Justin O.

    No no no no no, you are all totally misunderstanding her. It’s a total waste of the House’s time to take up any controversial bills because the Senate will gut them (see: health care reform). So any time spent on really controversial stuff in the House is a complete waste of energy. Why should Pelosi spend political capital getting stuff through her house when the Senate will then turn around and vote it all down? Makes much more sense to wait for the more conservative house to pass things so as to not waste the House’s time.

  • InExile

    They really don’t want our votes in 2012, do they?

    Why should we vote for them for doing NOTHING?

  • Brian NJ

    Gays have to stay home in the 2010 elections. The Democratic Party has control of the entire legislative process and they can’t take two laws off the books? The repeal of DADT is neither on the agenda of the House Armed Services Committee, and is not even listed in their priorities list. DUMPING VETERANS!!!! Read their to do list; they feel more strongly about continuing higher education for veterans than not throwing us right on the street!

    That level of brazen, outrageous abuse of our support deserved a strong response. They have taken our vote for granted and have to be made to account by way of a SLAP DOWN in 2010. Let them read the polling numbers.

    What is the drawback of doing that? There is no draw back, because they have done nothing.

  • Michael W.

    The Senate doesn’t want to touch that stuff, either. So basically congress will remain frozen through 2010, at least when it comes to anything potentially controversial.

    Democrats are such incompetent losers.

  • Rich

    So predictable. It’s time for a new set of leaders in Congress and the White House.

  • InExile

    The Senate had majorities of 50 and 51 under Bush and dam did he get his agenda passed! The Democrats now have a 60 seat majority and accomplish nothing. We have no leadership in the Oval office.

  • schlukitz

    No. 9 · InExile

    Please allow me to correct your spelling.

    That’s the “Ofal” office. ;P

  • brian

    There was never support for LGBT issues in the Congress.

    You were lied to. Do something with that.

  • Jon

    You people are surprised? Really?

    I quit them (and cut off the donation spiget) with Donnie McClurkin and you laughed at me.

    The real question is about how to move on & support true allies, singularly, not donations to a blanket party or cocktail party organization who only has a basic interest in retaining a paycheck & status(quo) for the foreseeable future.

  • Jon

    spigot. . .those of us who graduated in the 70’s can’t do math either.

  • Lady Ga-Gasp

    If you pay attention to Nancy Pelosi, you can’t help but end up thinking she’s a buffoon. But not for the reasons right wingers harbor. She’s a natural outcome (a la Bush) of our political climate, and our campaign financing system. Its jerry rigged, and so is her brain.

  • Bob R

    #4, Justin O, is correct. Pelosi and the House is tired of doing all the heavy lifting only to have Senate Dems drop the ball. The Democrats in the House step up and the Democrats in the Senate wimp out. I’m all for Mixner’s suggestions, stop funding the party and donate to those Democrats who support our issues and have a track record (not just a tongue record)of supporting our causes. Support primary challengers and work for those who pledge their support and have some history of doing so. I refuse to give money to the DLC, DSCC, or any other party organization. My money will now only go to individual candidates.

  • Brian

    But, we don’t have a majority in the US Senate.

    The Democrats do, but we don’t.

    There will be NO LGBT legislation passed until that changes.

  • Daniel

    How about a policy of “Don’t Volunteer, Don’t Donate” until there is comprehensive non-discrimination laws at the federal level? How about encouraging gay people to leave their federal jobs since DC needs gay people across the spectrum to function?

  • Schteve

    Hate on Democrats as a whole or whatever, but no ill will should come to Pelosi for this. See: Justin O. and Bob R.

    She is not saying the House won’t pass any of this stuff. All she is saying is that she won’t move on it until the Senate does first, or until 2011. Which makes perfect sense. Or are you actually telling me you want lawmakers who have our backs to lose reelection to more conservative opponents because they stick out their necks on such votes?

  • emb

    Staying home in 2010 is not a good answser. On the other hand, NOT being knee-jerk voters for Democrats IS an interesting thing. We should look at individual candidates’ positions on issues of interest, and vote accordingly, regardless of party. Since the Dems have brilliantly demonstrated that we have no progressive or even particularly liberal party in this country — just a right-wing lunatic party and a big blob of moderation — then it only makes sense to avoid party lines and support incumbents who have demonstrated their support in the past or insurgents who clearly and unequivocably promise support and have demonstrated support as well.

  • Brian NJ

    I think the Democratic Party will respond to insurgency, as opposed to the pour-the-wine-ass-is-all-yours “strategy” that has landed us here. Gays need to get tough.

  • Brian NJ

    We are not an appendage of the Democratic Party. If we accept their strategy decisions as “rational” we will stay at the bottom of the priority list. The issue is not whether or not a democratic politician is rational; the issue is are they motivated to bump up our issues on the to do list.

    Gays are a large percentage of voters, they form chunk of the base, they are influential, they have money, and, most important, they Democratic party has they LEAST amount of fear about what we might do — because we are so nice and ratioal and always accept their excuses. What do we do??: “A night of celebration for Obama!” “Step out in the stars for the cause!” We are the Cinderellas of the Democratic Party, always sucking up, thinking we are “working with!” the Democrats, when we are being worked on by the Democratic Party. That is how Rahm Emmanuel put us on the BOTTOM of the Administration to do list, right next to “Fundraiser for Presidential Library.”

    Gays have to start making demands, and loose the illusion of “working with” the democratically controlled government. They have to do what does not come so easily: stop being a host, stop being rational and cooperative: START being tough on the guests, START demanding answers, THROW THEM OUT if they start peeing in the kitchen, where we eat.

  • Jason SD

    Making “demands?” Not this again. If politicians disagree with us – religiously – and their constituents do as well (the majority in 41 States), how the hell will “demanding” make any difference?

    We have only one option: change the politicians. We do that through elections or through educating their constituents. Demands are never part of progress.

  • Paul J McDonough

    I just usually never use the word- I find it to be sexist and degrading. But if I did ever use the word, I would be the first to call Nancy Pelosi a cunt

  • Attmay

    I knew that Botoxia, Queen of the Damned was a cunt years ago. Nice to see the rest of you catching up to that fact.

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    @No.4 Justin O., @No. 15 Bob R. and @No. 18 Schteve

    She is the fucking speaker of the House. She is supposed to be a leader. If she did not want to be a leader, why the fuck did she run for Congress and then strong arm herself into the Speakership.

    OMFG, should something happen to Obama and Biden, with all those wingnuts threatening the lives of POTUS and VPOTUS, then this so-called leader becomes president!

    [Pet peeve: @No. 14 Lady Ga-Gasp: Queerty did the same thing a few days ago in reference to gays jerry-rigging (sic) Buju’s arrest. It is “jury” rigging, as in to rig a jury for a particular verdict outcome. There is also “Gerrymandering” which is rigging an election district to rig a particular election outcome.] {Oh, and love your screen name.]

  • Justin O.

    @No.24, Mike:

    But I fail to see how she’s not being a leader. She’s saying “I’m not going to let the progressive members of my party get hurt for standing up for what they believe in when there’s no chance that anything we pass will become law thanks to those assholes in the Senate.” You better believe she’s laying the pressure into Harry Reid to actually do some of this stuff, but she’s stuck her neck out time and time again on controversial issues only to be burned by her colleagues in the Senate. Making rational decisions about what’s best for your party is the very definition of leadership and I praise Pelosi for it while saving my anger for the political climate that is forcing her to do it.

  • Rich

    @No. 25, Justin:

    Speaker Pelosi is using the elections as an excuse to not pass legislation. The handwriting is already on the wall for next year’s mid-terms — nearly all polling shows that the elections will be an anti-incumbent referendum based on the poor economy. The Democrats will lose seats regardless of what they do. Instead of seizing the opportunity they have now, our leadership chooses to do nothing while their power and influence does nothing but deteriorate. If they think this legislation is too “controversial” to pass now, what will happen in 2011 when the Democratic majorities are even slimmer or non-existent?

    Imagine you are a gay or lesbian servicemember who had hope of being released from the shackles of dishonesty and shame when President Obama was inaugurated and there were Democratic super-majorities in Congress. Now, it appears that Congress will be happy to let its gay and lesbian servicemembers continue their lies indefinitely. They’ve already waited over a decade, what’s another decade more?

    I expect that by this time next year we’ll all be wondering how we squandered 2 years of legislative power to accomplish absolutely nothing. How many more years will we have to wait to get back to this opportunity?

  • Justin O.

    @no.26, Rich:

    I don’t think you quite got my point. I absolutely blame Democrats in general for wasting the power they’ve accrued. I don’t blame Pelosi specifically though. You say she’s using the elections as an excuse not to pass legislation. I’m saying that she CAN’T pass legislation. She’s the leader of one half of Congress. The other half has to be a partner in getting legislation passed. Pelosi doesn’t have the power to enact laws on her own. If the Senate is going to fail her as a partner in the lawmaking process, why SHOULD she stick her neck out on the line to pass things in her house when that has NO EFFECT one what will become law? It will only result in fewer Democrats in the House for the times when the Senate finally gets its act together and make her even less likely to be able to do anything.

    Basically, if you think of political capital as money, you seem to be advocating she just shred money without any hope of getting anything in return. I’d rather she save it to use when it will do some good, all the while continuing to do what I’m sure she’s already doing, meeting with Harry Reid and telling him he needs to get his Senate in order.

  • Rich

    It is the House of Representatives’ responsibility to be the activist body of Congress that speaks for the people. It is the “populist” chamber. The House should not be reacting to anticipated action by the Senate. Otherwise, why have two chambers of Congress at all? This is a complete failure in leadership by the Speaker. I blame the President, too. We could not have asked for a more lukewarm leader in the White House.

  • Justin O.

    Well, we can agree to disagree about Pelosi while absolutely agreeing that basically the whole mess is really the President’s fault for not showing strong leadership on any “controversial” issues. :)

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    Soory Justin O. but agreeing to disagree doesn’t help the situation. And I too blame the president for his promises of “yes we can” and “hope” and then turning his back on those who were with him from the beginning.

    The office of Speaker of the House has enormous power and authority. Not a single piece of legislation can be brought to the House without the approval of the Speaker; and prior speakers have used that authority to push their own legislative agendas, irrespective of the agendas of the Senate or the White House. Pelosi is a weak, mealy, organizer, hardly a leader, hardly someone who should be a “vice” vice president.

    Being all that concerned about what will happen in the Senate or what will happen in the next election, has kept the LGBT community without ANY active or important voice to overcome the many injustices we face.

    Pelosi is a failure; that the rest of the Democratic caucus is a failure too. They have full control of the House yet they fail to enact the legislative agenda that they campaigned on: its not just the failure to act on repealing DADT and DOMA, there has been ineffective movement on health care reform, and a whole slew of cleaning up from the Bush years.

    These Democrats are simply afraid of their own shadows.

    No wonder those on the left hate these wimps as much as those on the right.

  • Isaiah

    I don’t blame Speaker Pelosi. She’s right (and smart) on this one. Why should she and House members continuously make courgeous and politically-risky votes while the Senate does nothing. And President Obama refuses to lift a finger when it comes to controversy. He could have done something by now on DADT, but nothing!

    Pelosi’s health bill was much more liberal than anything the Senate will ever pass. But her work and the political sacrifices of the House Democrats will mean nothing if the bill dies in the Senate.

    Harry Reid and Barack Obama need to grow a pair. Nancy Pelosi seems to be the only one among them with any balls.

  • kevin57

    I agree that Pelosi is making a political calculation, and she’s right…politically.

    That only reinforces what most have said here for a while. The Dems are not going to do anything of note for LGBTs.

    Staying home in 2010 is one response, and in principle that’s fine, but we make up a small percent of the populace. What will get their attention is no $$$. None. Zip. Zilch. Gays donate disproportionately to progressive causes. Cut that off, boys, and you’ll see some response. Just make sure not to buy a mirage.

  • Josh NYC

    The misinformation above needs to stop. Here’s the truth:

    1. The Speaker of the House can’t tell her members how to vote.

    2. The Speaker of the House can’t tell Senators how to vote.

    3. LGBT issues are not negotiable. You can’t use lobbying.

    4. The current US Senate has 48 Senators opposed to ALL LGBT issues.

    5. We cannot pass anything in the 111th Congress because of the Senate.

    So, until we replace enough members of the Senate, we have nothing. If you want to make a difference, pick a Senator to replace. No amount of “leadership” or lobbying or phone calls has ever changed a politicians mind about us. Never.

  • Reg

    This sorta stuff can’t happen in Canada, the P.M. has a bunch of people called whips who’s job it is to make sure that everyone in his party does what he wants. It causes only a few problems and gets the laws that matter passed.

    Stupid American system is stupid.

  • Justin O.

    @No.30 Mike –

    You’re right, agreeing to disagree does nothing to help. But I believe wasting energy on Pelosi does even less to help and, in fact, may hurt. I’ll continue focusing on the people who matter and who truly aren’t yet on our side – Obama, Reid, many members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate. You feel free to focus on who you feel you need to.

    Let’s not forget that Pelosi pushed through a far more sweeping and comprehensive health reform bill through her chamber than the Senate has any hope of doing (including a decent public option). She has shown lots of leadership. True, it’s not a gay issue, but it’s a matter of life or death for many Americans and I’m proud to have her as one of the leaders of my party.

    Obama and Reid? Not so much these days.

  • Wen


    Same in Holland. Also here, youre either for or against (something) as a party and it doesnt happen a lot that party members ‘dissent’ on issues and if they do thats okay too, but the consensus is to stick to party politics. The system in US is different, only two parties, but even then, you gotta stick with the plan or else dont create a plan and make promises, like Obama, you cant fulfill because half of the dem party is against eg. gay rights.
    From what Ive been able to learn about the US on gay issues, the best way is to vote and support a senator, that really has shown integrity and actions for gays, seems the best and only way to go. So get those repub senators away (easier said than done) to help Pelosi get bills through in Senate as well. I understand her hands are tied this way.

  • Josh NYC

    @ Wen:

    It’s because of religion here in the US. Religion is more important that party affiliation. About 1/3 of our Democrats in Congress are very religious – and therefore, anti-Gay.

  • Wen

    @ JoshNYC, I understand that. And religion is always the problem, its maddening :0

  • Sarah

    That’s just a shame and makes you really wonder if the American people are the priority or if it’s only power and ego that are important.

  • PopSnap

    The Democrats have proved themselves utterly incompetent and unqualified to run a bake sale, nevertheless a nation. Some of the best people in Congress- Feingold, Kucininch, Sanders, Dean, Gillibrand, et. al.- are ignored and shoved into a corner in favor of right-wing nuts like Bachmann or DeMint. Obama is a pussy and goes all “DURR COMPROMISE WITH PEOPLE WHO THINK IM A MUSLIM NAZI COMMUNIST SOCIALIST ILLEGAL ALIEN” whenever liberals try to get something done.

    And the support for liberal causes is there. In fact, liberals and moderates outnumber right-wingers by at least 50 million to 20 million. And yet what we get is a shitty insurance corporate sellout bill, as well as no amnesty or DADT repeal/ENDA, no restriction of wallstreet, need I go on? 1,800,000 people called into Congress last week in support of comprehensive healthcare reform- more than the number of teabaggers in this country combined.

    Liberals are pushed into the shitter, time and again. Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin run our goddamn country. I’ve quit caring about politics altogether, unless somebody like Feingold or Dean runs (which, they won’t anytime soon- Obama will become the Democrats’ Bush). Maybe in 2016? Until then, Republicans will gain 5-10 seats in the House next year, which you can be bum-fuckingly sure will be plenty to stall our government as we know it.

  • Schteve

    No. 24 · Mike in Asheville, nee “in Brooklyn”

    How is she not being a leader of her party? She’s trying to keep Democrats in power, which is one of her main priorities. Again, she is NOT saying that she won’t pass any LGBT legislation. Rather, she is going to do it either after the Senate does it, or after 2010. What the fuck is so wrong with that?

    And the fact that you think it would be the end of the world for her to assume the presidency is somewhat suspect. You really wouldn’t kill to have a president who is such a strong champion of LGBT rights, including marriage? You think she would have been silent on Maine?

  • Josh NYC

    Schorry Schteve:

    Pelosi is admitting the US Senate can’t pass an LGBT Bill. They have too many votes against us. So, passing something in the House is a waste of time.

  • Bill Clinton Again

    We already did this. 1992-2000. Our “first” Black President – William Jefferson Clinton – was our big hope for change. We got DADT and DOMA.

    When will we learn? Politics will not save us.

  • AxelDC

    If Democrats don’t want to vote on anything “controversial”, then what’s the point of them being in Washington?

    Do Democrats stand for anything other than re-election?

  • carl

    I’m joining the tea party!Why because these politicians especially Nancy Pelosi and Harry reid are un American and a threat to our Freedoms.I didn’t like Bush but at least he didn”t mess with me and protected us all.he protected America!

  • AxelDC

    @carl: Apparently, you’ve never heard of the Federal Marriage Amendment. If Bush had had his way, gays would never be allowed to have any rights in this country, as he tried to embed discrimination in the US Constitution.

Comments are closed.