House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has broken with President Barack Obama on several major issues this year. But, unlike some other liberals, she has largely kept her dissent quiet, The Hill
reports. She doesn’t want to weaken the president at the expense of Republicans or see him lose next year’s election. Pelosi also doesn’t want to hurt the election chances of congressional Democrats.
When she is in opposition to Obama, Pelosi often attacks Republicans instead. For example, last week she voted against the free-trade agreement with Colombia that Obama supported and Congress passed. But instead of hitting Obama for pushing the accord, she took on the GOP for torpedoing Democratic attempts to mandate more assistance for workers.
“The administration was advocating for this [the worker protections,] but . . . the leadership in this House said no,” Pelosi said on the chamber floor before the vote.
The minority leader also clashed with Obama over perhaps the year’s most important issue – the budget. Before an April vote on a continuing resolution, Pelosi said she was acknowledging “no ownership” of the bipartisan deal forged by Obama. But she didn’t directly criticize the bill and even hinted that she’d back it if her vote was needed for passage.
“It is very important to keep government open,” Pelosi said then. “We all support that.”
She wasn’t too pleased with the August debt ceiling compromise negotiated by Obama and GOP leaders either. Pelosi called it a “satan sandwich with satan fries on the side.” But she ended up voting for the plan anyway.
To be sure, Pelosi isn’t shy in letting the White House know what she thinks. A knowledgeable source tells The Hill that the minority leader has regular contact with the White House, but quietly.
“A private conversation or private letter to a high-ranking official carries a lot more weight than something that’s just going to be published in one of the Capitol Hill newspapers,” the source said.
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