But one congressional leader has been absent from Friday’s back-and-forth – and from Washington entirely.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was in Boston on Friday to attend the groundbreaking of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate and to deliver remarks at a Tufts University event. Pelosi did not hold any fundraising events during the trip, her office said.
Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement that the former speaker was continuing with her previously scheduled trip and was hopeful that President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the main negotiators in the budget talks, would be able to hammer out a deal before Friday’s midnight deadline.
“The Leader is proceeding with her official public schedule, which includes her attendance at the groundbreaking for the Senator Kennedy Institute in Boston and a long-scheduled event at Tufts University,” Elshami said.
Elshami added that Pelosi “is speaking regularly with her staff and Members, and is prepared to return to Washington today pending the results of these negotiations.”
Pelosi, along with more than a dozen other House members, was not present for the three votes Friday afternoon on a measure regarding the Federal Communications Commissions’ net neutrality rules.
House Republicans’ national campaign committee criticized Pelosi for leaving Washington at the height of budget talks and blasted the news of her Boston trip in a release to reporters Friday afternoon.
When it comes to the actual budget negotiations, however, House Democrats and Senate Republicans, as the minority parties in each chamber, have not been in the room as a compromise is hammered out, and Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have taken on lower-profile roles in the current funding battle.
That, of course, doesn’t mean House Democrats have been absent from the spending debate. Pelosi has spoken out against the House Republican plan at several events in the Capitol, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) — who has been on the opposite side from Pelosi in votes on the past two stopgap funding measures — has taken an active role in the House debate on the government funding resolution, getting into contentious exchanges with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the House floor.