News and Commentary

BACKLASH: Here’s What Democrats Are Saying About Pelosi’s Political Stunt On Illegal Immigrants

House Democratic lawmakers are reportedly enraged at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s decision to give an unprecedented eight-hour speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, saying that she hurt many of her Democratic colleagues who are running in 2018.

Pelosi vowed to stand and speak until Republicans gave in to her demands to protect illegal aliens who were brought to the United States by their parents as minors. However, Pelosi’s speech appears to have deepened the fracture in the Democratic Party over the issue of immigration.

Politico interviewed almost a dozen House Democrats, several of whom only spoke on the condition on anonymity so they could give honest responses about their opinion of Pelosi’s stunt. Many agreed that she was trying to “shore up support with the progressive base” who feel Democrats have failed to do enough to protect Dreamers. “By agreeing to the spending caps deal, [Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)] and others argued, Democrats gave up all their leverage to force Republicans into serious negotiations to shield Dreamers from deportation,” Politico explains.

Others believe her eight-hour filibuster-style speech just made life more difficult for many Democrats:

Some centrist-minded Democrats said Pelosi’s daylong protest could — by calling attention to the failure to provide relief for Dreamers — make it that much harder for vulnerable members to vote for the budget deal. …

“This stunt … had nothing to do with protecting vulnerable members who have to take a difficult vote,” said one moderate lawmaker who asked not to be named. “Working out this deal and then saying she’s not going to vote for it? Come on. She was at the table.” …

All House Democrats are supportive of Dreamers. But several members, particularly centrists, are wary of using the immigration issue as a campaign cudgel, worried it could derail Democrats’ chances of taking back the House.

Gutiérrez, who is retiring at the end of this year, slammed Pelosi, saying, “There’s all kinds of ways, I assure you, that leadership exercises its influence — the least of which is a floor speech.”

Pelosi’s speech also pits her directly against Senate Democrats who just reached a budget deal which did not include provisions on immigration.

Another House Democrat told Bloomberg, “Many of our members are furious. We have spent the last three weeks insisting that we don’t want to shut the government down over DACA, and she essentially made the whole thing about it. Virtually everyone trying to win seats outside of California feels she has hurt their chances.”

During her speech, Pelosi ratcheted up the rhetoric by praising illegal immigrants for breaking the law and stating that the U.S. was in their debt.