House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) announced Wednesday that she intends to remain at the head of the Democratic caucus in the next Congress. For Pelosi, it was only the latest newsworthy development in a career filled with them. Below, we look back at some of Pelosi’s most memorable moments. (What did we miss? The comments section awaits!)
Becoming the first woman speaker of the House: After serving two terms as minority leader, Pelosi made the historic ascent to speaker when Democrats won back the House in 2006. ”I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship,” Pelosi said after raucous applause, as she accepted the speaker’s gavel.
“Fire Pelosi” in 2010 midterms: House Republicans decided in 2010 to make Pelosi a centerpiece of the push to retake the lower chamber. In campaigns all across the country, Pelosi began popping up in negative ads. Then-Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele even embarked on a “Fire Pelosi” bus tour. It appeared to work, as Republicans found a great deal of success that year, winning their largest majority in 60 years. Republican John Boehner (Ohio) succeeded Pelosi as the highest-ranking member of the House.
Staying on as minority leader in 112th Congress: This week wasn’t the first occasion congressional observers were left wondering whether Pelosi would step down as the leader of her caucus. After her party sustained widespread losses in the midterm elections, many wondered whether Pelosi would step aside. She didn’t, opting for a another run at minority leader. While the many losses on her watch didn’t look good, the House Democratic caucus’s moderate ranks had been diminished, leaving Pelosi’s House allies on the left with a powerful voice, which helped her keep her place as leader.
“We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”: When Pelosi remarked in March 2010 at the National Association of Counties that Congress had to pass the health-care bill that was being debated in Congress “so you can find out what is in it,” she stoked criticism from opponents. This past summer, Pelosi was asked about her remark, and she defended it. “It’s because we didn’t have a Senate bill,” she said. “We were urging the Senate to pass a bill.”
2007 battles with Bush White House over Iraq War funding: Just months into her tenure as speaker, Pelosi found herself in the middle of a back-and-forth between the Democratic Congress and the White House over funding for the war in Iraq. Congress had passed a bill to continue funding overseas military operations, but then-President George W. Bush vetoed the measure because it contained a timetable for withdrawal. “The president wants a blank check,” Pelosi said in response. Democrats were unable to override the veto, and about three weeks later, Bush signed a new measure that didn’t contain a timetable.