Nancy Patricia Pelosi (//; née D'Alesandro; born March 26, 1940) is an American politician serving as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives since January 2019. First elected to Congress in 1987, she is the only woman to have served as Speaker, and is the highest-ranking elected woman in United States history. Pelosi is second in the presidential line of succession, immediately after the vice president.
|52nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Paul Ryan|
January 4, 2007 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Dennis Hastert|
|Succeeded by||John Boehner|
|House Minority Leader|
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||John Boehner|
|Succeeded by||Kevin McCarthy|
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Dick Gephardt|
|Succeeded by||John Boehner|
|House Minority Whip|
January 15, 2002 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||David Bonior|
|Succeeded by||Steny Hoyer|
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
|Assumed office |
June 2, 1987
|Preceded by||Sala Burton|
|Constituency||5th district (1987–1993)|
8th district (1993–2013)
12th district (2013–present)
|Chair of the California Democratic Party|
February 27, 1981 – April 3, 1983
|Preceded by||Charles Manatt|
|Succeeded by||Peter Kelly|
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro
March 26, 1940
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Paul Pelosi (m. 1963)
|Children||5, including Christine and Alexandra|
|Relatives||Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. (father)|
|Education||Trinity Washington University (BA)|
|Net worth||US$26.4 million (2013)|
A member of the Democratic Party, Pelosi is in her 17th term as a congresswoman, representing California's 12th congressional district (since 2013), which consists of four-fifths of the city and county of San Francisco. She initially represented the 5th district (1987–1993), and then, when district boundaries were redrawn after the 1990 Census, the 8th district (1993–2013). She has led House Democrats since 2003 (the first woman to lead a party in Congress), serving twice each as Speaker (2007–2011 and 2019–present) and as House Minority Leader (2003–2007 and 2011–2019) depending upon whether Democrats or Republicans held the majority; she has also served as House Minority Whip (2002–2003).
Pelosi was a major opponent of the Iraq War as well as the Bush Administration's 2005 attempt to privatize Social Security. During her first speakership, she was instrumental in the passage of many landmark bills, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act, along with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and 2010 Tax Relief Act, which served as economic stimulus amidst the Great Recession.
In the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats won control of the House. Afterward, when the 116th Congress convened on January 3, 2019, Pelosi was elected Speaker for the second time, becoming the first former speaker to return to the post since Sam Rayburn in 1955.
Early life and education
Pelosi was born in Baltimore to an Italian-American family, the youngest, and only girl, of seven children of Annunciata M. "Nancy" D'Alesandro (née Lombardi), and Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. Both of Pelosi's parents had Italian roots. Her mother was born in Campobasso, in South Italy, and her father could trace his ancestry to the Italian cities of Genoa, Venice and Abruzzo. When Nancy was born, her father was a Democratic Congressman from Maryland and he became Mayor of Baltimore seven years later. Pelosi's mother was also active in politics, organizing Democratic women and teaching her daughter the value of social networking. Pelosi's brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also a Democrat, was Mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971.
Pelosi was involved with politics from an early age. She helped her father at his campaign events. She attended John F. Kennedy's inaugural address when he became U.S. President in January 1961.
She graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame, a Catholic all-girls high school in Baltimore. In 1962, she graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Pelosi interned for Senator Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland) in the 1960s alongside future House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
After moving to San Francisco, Pelosi worked her way up in Democratic politics. She became a friend of one of the leaders of the California Democratic Party, 5th District Congressman Phillip Burton. In 1976, Pelosi was elected as a Democratic National Committee member from California, a position she would hold until 1996. She was elected as party chair for Northern California on January 30, 1977, and for the California Democratic Party, which she held from 1981 until 1983.
U.S. House of Representatives
Phillip Burton died in 1983 and was succeeded by his wife, Sala. In late 1986, Sala became ill with cancer and decided not to run for reelection in 1988. She picked Pelosi as her designated successor, guaranteeing her the support of the Burtons' contacts. Sala died on February 1, 1987, just a month after being sworn in for a second full term. Pelosi won the special election to succeed her, narrowly defeating San Francisco Supervisor Harry Britt on April 7, 1987, then easily defeating Republican candidate Harriet Ross on June 2, 1987; Pelosi took office a week later.
Pelosi represents one of the safest Democratic districts in the country. Democrats have held the seat since 1949 and Republicans, who currently make up only 13 percent of registered voters in the district, have not made a serious bid for the seat since the early 1960s. She won reelection in the regular election in 1988 and has been reelected another 16 times with no substantive opposition, winning by an average of 80 percent of the vote. She has not participated in candidates' debates since her 1987 race against Harriet Ross. The strongest challenge Pelosi has faced was in 2016 when Preston Picus polled 19.1% and Pelosi won with 80.9%.
For the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, she held the distinction of contributing the most among members of Congress to other congressional campaigns, in part because she is in a safe district and does not need the campaign funds.
In 2002, after Gephardt resigned as minority leader to seek the Democratic nomination in the 2004 presidential election, Pelosi was elected to replace him, becoming the first woman to lead a major party in the House.
First speakership (2007–2011)
In the 2006 midterm elections, the Democrats took control of the House, picking up 30 seats. The change in control meant as House Minority Leader, Pelosi was widely expected to became Speaker of the House in the next Congress. On November 16, 2006, the Democratic caucus unanimously chose Pelosi as the Democratic candidate for Speaker.
Pelosi supported her longtime friend John Murtha of Pennsylvania for the position of House Majority Leader, the second-ranking post in the House Democratic caucus. His competitor was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who had been Pelosi's second-in-command since 2003. Pelosi and Hoyer had a somewhat frosty relationship dating back to 2001, when they ran against each other for minority whip. However, Hoyer was elected as House Majority Leader over Murtha by a margin of 149–86 within the caucus.
On January 3, Pelosi defeated Republican John Boehner of Ohio with 233 votes compared to his 202 votes in the election for Speaker of the House. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the incoming chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, nominated Pelosi and her longtime friend John Dingell of Michigan swore her in, as the Dean of the House of Representatives traditionally does.
With her election, Pelosi became the first woman, the first Californian, and the first Italian-American to hold the speakership. She is also the second Speaker from a state west of the Rocky Mountains. The first was Washington's Tom Foley, the last Democrat to hold the post before Pelosi.
During her speech, she discussed the historical importance of being the first female to hold the position of Speaker:
This is a historic moment – for the Congress, and for the women of this country. It is a moment for which we have waited more than 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights. But women weren't just waiting; women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and granddaughters, today, we have broken the marble ceiling. For our daughters and our granddaughters, the sky is the limit, anything is possible for them.
She also spoke on Iraq as the major issue facing the 110th Congress, while incorporating some Democratic Party beliefs:
The election of 2006 was a call to change – not merely to change the control of Congress, but for a new direction for our country. Nowhere were the American people more clear about the need for a new direction than in Iraq. The American people rejected an open-ended obligation to a war without end.
As Speaker, Pelosi was still the leader of the House Democrats; the Speaker is considered to be the leader of his or her House caucus. However, by tradition, she did not normally participate in debate and almost never voted on the floor (though she had every right to as a full House member). She was also not a member of any House committees.
Pelosi was re-elected Speaker in 2009.
A CBS News poll conducted in March 2010 found that 37% of registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of the speaker, with 11% approving. According to a March 2010 Rasmussen poll, 64% of voters nationally view the speaker unfavorably, and 29% have a favorable opinion of Pelosi.
During and after her tenure as Speaker, Pelosi was perceived as a contentious political figure, with Republican candidates frequently trying to tie their Democratic opponents to Pelosi and with moderate Democrats seeking to show their moderate bona fides by expressing opposition to Pelosi.
Social Security mandate
Shortly after winning re-election, President George W. Bush claimed a mandate for an ambitious second-term agenda and proposed reforming Social Security by allowing workers to redirect a portion of their Social Security withholding into stock and bond investments. Pelosi strongly opposed the plan, saying there was no crisis, and as minority leader she imposed intense party discipline on her caucus, leading them to near-unanimous opposition to Bush's proposal, and subsequent defeat of the proposed plan.
Blocking of impeachment proceedings against President Bush
In the wake of President George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, several leading House Democrats believed that Democrats should pursue impeachment proceedings against the president. They asserted that Bush had misled Congress about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and had violated the civil liberties of Americans by authorizing wiretaps without a warrant.
In May 2006, with an eye on the upcoming congressional elections–which offered the possibility of Democrats taking back control of the House for the first time since 1994–Pelosi told colleagues that, while the Democrats would conduct vigorous oversight of Bush administration policy, an impeachment investigation was "off the table". (A week earlier, she had told the Washington Post that, although Democrats would not set out to impeach the president, "you never know where" investigations might lead.)
After becoming Speaker of the House in January 2007, Pelosi held firm against impeachment, notwithstanding strong support for that course of action among constituents in her home district. In the November 2008 election, Pelosi withstood a challenge for her seat by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, who ran as an independent primarily because of Pelosi's refusal to pursue impeachment.
The "Hundred Hours"
Prior to the U.S. 2006 midterm elections, Pelosi announced a plan for action: If elected, she and the newly empowered Democratic caucus would push through most of its program during the first hundred hours of the 110th Congress's term.
The origin for the name "first hundred hours" is a play on words derived from former Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt's promise for quick action on the part of government (to combat the Great Depression) during his "first hundred days" in office. Newt Gingrich, who became Speaker of the House in 1995, had a similar 100-day agenda to implement the Contract with America.
Opposition to Iraq War troop surge of 2007
On January 5, 2007, reacting to suggestions from President Bush's confidantes that he would increase troop levels in Iraq (which he announced in a speech a few days later), Pelosi joined with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to condemn the plan. They sent Bush a letter:
[T]here is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution. Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. ... Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror.
2008 Democratic National Convention
Pelosi has been credited for spearheading President Obama's health-care law when it seemed that it would go down in defeat. After Republican Scott Brown won Democrat Ted Kennedy's former senate seat in the January 2010 Massachusetts special election and thereby causing the Senate Democrats to lose their filibuster proof majority, Obama agreed with then chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's idea that he should do smaller initiatives that could pass easily. Pelosi, however, dismissed the president's fear and instead mocked his scaled-back ideas as "kiddie care". After convincing the president that this would be their only shot at health-care because of the large Democratic majorities they currently had, she rallied her Democratic caucus as she began an "unbelievable marathon" of a two-month session to craft the health-care bill, which successfully passed the House with a 219–212 vote. In Obama's remarks before signing the bill into law, he specifically credited Pelosi as being "one of the best Speakers the House of Representatives has ever had".
House Minority Leader (2011–2019)
112th and 113th Congress
Though Pelosi was re-elected by a comfortable margin in the 2010 midterm elections, the Democrats lost 63 seats and ceded control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans. After the electoral setback suffered by her party, Pelosi sought to continue leading the House Democratic Caucus in the position of Minority Leader, the office she held prior to becoming Speaker. After Pelosi's disparate intra-party opposition failed to pass a motion to delay the leadership vote, Pelosi was elected Minority Leader for the 112th Congress. On November 14, 2012, Pelosi announced she would remain on as Democratic leader.
In November 2011, 60 Minutes alleged that Pelosi and several other members of Congress had used information they gleaned from closed sessions to make money on the stock market. The program cited Pelosi's purchases of Visa stock while a bill that would limit credit card fees was in the House. Pelosi denied the allegations and called the report "a right-wing smear". When the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (or STOCK Act) was introduced the next year, Pelosi voted for the bill and lauded its passing. Of Representatives Louise Slaughter and Tim Walz, who drafted the bill, Pelosi said they "shined a light on a gaping hole in our ethics laws and helped close it once and for all".
114th and 115th Congress
In August 2016, Pelosi said her personal contact information was posted online following a cyber attack against top Democratic campaign committees and she had received "obscene and sick calls, voice mails and text messages". She warned members of Congress to avoid letting children or family members answer phone calls or read text messages.
Tim Ryan initiated a bid to replace Pelosi as House Minority Leader on November 17, 2016, prompted by colleagues following the 2016 presidential election. After Pelosi agreed to give more leadership opportunities to junior members, she defeated Ryan by a vote of 134–63 on November 30.
In 2017, after Democrats lost four consecutive special elections in the House of Representatives, Pelosi's leadership was again called into question. On June 22, 2017, a small group of House Democrats held a closed-door meeting in the office of Representative Kathleen Rice (NY) to discuss a strategy for selecting new Democratic leadership. Rice publicly called for new Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, as did other House Democrats, including Tim Ryan (OH), Seth Moulton (MA), and Filemon Vela (TX). Cedric Richmond (LA), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, also attended the closed-door meeting on Pelosi.
Rice said in a CNN interview about Pelosi's leadership, "If you were talking about a company that was posting losing numbers, if you were talking about any sports team that was losing time and time again, changes would be made, right? The CEO out. The coach would be out and there would be a new strategy put in place."
In a press conference, Pelosi responded to the criticism by saying, "I respect any opinion that my members have but my decision about how long I stay is not up to them." When asked specifically why she should stay on as House Minority Leader after numerous Democratic seats were lost, Pelosi responded, "Well, I'm a master legislator. I am a strategic, politically astute leader. My leadership is recognized by many around the country, and that is why I'm able to attract the support that I do."
In November 2017, after Pelosi called for the resignation of John Conyers over allegations of harassment, she convened the first in a series of planned meetings on strategies to address reforming workplace policies in the wake of national attention to sexual harassment. Pelosi said Congress had "a moral duty to the brave women and men coming forward to seize this moment and demonstrate real, effective leadership to foster a climate of respect and dignity in the workplace".
In February 2018, Pelosi sent a letter to Speaker Ryan accusing Republicans with having waged a "cover-up campaign" to protect Trump and cited last minute changes to the memo after a vote for its release as dangerous and violating House rules, saying, "House Republicans' pattern of obstruction and cover-up to hide the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal represents a threat to our intelligence and our national security. The GOP has led a partisan effort to distort intelligence and discredit the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence communities." She charged House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes with partaking in "deliberately dishonest actions" and called for his immediate removal from his position.
In February 2018, Pelosi broke the record for longest speech in the House of Representatives when she spent more than eight hours recounting stories from DREAMers – individuals who were brought to the United States as minors by undocumented immigrants – to object to a budget deal which would raise spending caps without addressing the future of DACA recipients, which were at risk of deportation by the Trump administration.
In May 2018, after the White House invited two Republicans and no Democrats to a briefing by Department of Justice officials on an FBI informant that made contact with the Trump campaign, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray calling for "a bipartisan Gang of Eight briefing that involves congressional leadership from both chambers".
In August 2018, Pelosi called for the resignation of Duncan D. Hunter after his indictment on charges of misusing at least $250,000 in campaign funds, saying in a statement that the charges were "evidence of the rampant culture of corruption among Republicans in Washington today".
Second speakership (2019–)
In the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats regained a majority of seats in the House. On November 28, House Democrats nominated Pelosi to once again serve as Speaker of the House. She was formally re-elected to the speakership at the start of the 116th Congress on January 3, 2019.
Civil liberties and human rights
The American Civil Liberties Union's Congressional Scorecard has given Pelosi a lifetime rating of 92% for her voting record on civil liberties. In 2001, she voted in favor of the USA Patriot Act, but voted against reauthorization of certain provisions in 2005. She voted against a Constitutional amendment banning flag-burning.
In June 2018, Pelosi visited a federal facility used to detain migrant children separated from their parents and subsequently called for the resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. In July, Pelosi characterized the compromise immigration bill by the Republicans as a deal with the devil and noted she had not had conversations with House Speaker Ryan about a legislative solution to the separation of families at the southern border.
Pelosi received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign for the 107th, 108th, and 109th sessions of Congress, indicating that she voted in agreement with HRC's slate of pro-LGBTQ legislative issues. In 1996, she voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, and in 2004 and 2006, she voted against the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, which would amend the United States Constitution to define marriage federally as being between one man and one woman, thereby overriding states' individual rights to legalize same-sex marriage. When the Supreme Court of California overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Pelosi released a statement welcoming the "historic decision". She voiced her opposition to Proposition 8, the successful ballot initiative, which defined marriage in California as a union between one man and one woman.
Pelosi states that her Catholic faith is behind her position on LGBT rights such as same-sex marriage, though the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. Pelosi says "My religion compels me—and I love it for it—to be against discrimination of any kind in our country, and I consider [the ban on gay marriage] a form of discrimination. I think it's unconstitutional on top of that."
Pelosi supports reform in marijuana laws, although NORML's deputy director Paul Armentano said that she and other members of Congress hadn't done anything to change the laws. She also supports use of medical marijuana.
Removal of Confederate monuments
As Speaker of the House, Pelosi quietly moved the statue of Robert E. Lee from the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol to the Capitol crypt. In Lee's place, she had a statue of Rosa Parks erected. In August 2017, Pelosi said she supported the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials from the Capitol Building.
According to the CIA, while Pelosi was the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, she was briefed on the ongoing use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques", including waterboarding authorized for a captured terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, in one hour-long briefing in 2002. After the briefing, Pelosi said she "was assured by lawyers with the CIA and the Department of Justice that the methods were legal." Two unnamed former Bush Administration officials say that the briefing was detailed and graphic, and at the time she didn't raise substantial objections. One unnamed U.S. official present during the early briefings said, "In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to September 11 and people were still in a panic. But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, 'We don't care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.' "
However, several top Democratic lawmakers in the House signed a letter on June 26, 2009, alleging that CIA Director Leon Panetta had asserted that the CIA misled Congress for a "number of years" spanning back to 2001, casting clouds on the controversy. Neither letter, lawmakers or the CIA provided details and the circumstances surrounding the allegations make it hard to assess the claims and counterclaims of both sides.
Officials in Congress say her ability to challenge the practices may have been hampered by strict rules of secrecy that prohibited her from being able to take notes or consult legal experts or members of her own staffs. In an April 2009 press conference, Pelosi stated, "In that or any other briefing ... we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used. What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel – the Office of Legislative Counsel opinions that they could be used, but not that they would. And they further – further, the point was that if and when they would be used, they would brief Congress at that time" Pelosi's office stated that she later protested the technique and that she concurred with objections raised by Democratic colleague Jane Harman in a letter to the CIA in early 2003.
Pelosi voted against the 1995 Balanced Budget Proposed Constitutional Amendment, which was passed by the House by a 300–132 vote, but in the Senate fell two votes short of the 2/3 supermajority required (with 65 out of 100 Senators voting in favor).
As Speaker of the House, she also spearheaded the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 as part of the 100-Hour Plan. The Act raises the minimum wage in the United States and the territories of the Northern Marianas Islands and American Samoa. American Samoa was initially absent from the act, but as part of HR 2206 it was included. One Republican congressman who voted against the initial bill accused Pelosi of unethically benefiting Del Monte Foods (headquartered in her district) by the exclusion of the territory, where Del Monte's StarKist Tuna brand is a major employer. Pelosi co-sponsored legislation that omitted American Samoa from a raise in the minimum wage as early as 1999, prior to Del Monte's acquisition of StarKist Tuna in 2002.
Pelosi opposed the welfare reform proposed by President Bush as well as reforms proposed and passed under President Clinton. She also opposed the tax reform signed by President Trump in December 2017, describing it as "probably one of the worst bills in the history of the United States of America ... It robs from the future [and] it rewards the rich ... and corporations at the expense of tens of millions of working middle-class families in our country." She said "this is Armageddon" and argued that the tax bill increased the debt in a way that would cause an adverse impact on social insurance spending. In January 2018, shortly after the tax bill was passed, Pelosi was asked by a reporter to respond to statements by companies attributing the tax cuts for allowing them to raise wages and give bonuses. She said that given the benefits that corporations received from the tax bill, the benefits that workers got equated to "crumbs". Most companies that awarded bonuses gave out payments of hundreds of dollars, while some gave bonuses of significantly over $1,000.
In November 2018, Pelosi stated that she had spoken with President Trump on infrastructure development and though he "really didn't come through with it in his first two years in office" while it was a topic during his campaign, the subject had not been a partisan matter in Congress. She mentioned potential bipartisan legislative initiatives that would "create good paying jobs and will also generate other economic growth in their regions".
In August 2018, after President Trump signed an emergency declaration for federal aid in combating the Carr Fire in Northern California, Pelosi lauded the move as "an important first step" but requested the president adhere to a wish by California Governor Jerry Brown for further aid to other hard-hit areas in California. She called for the Trump administration to take "real, urgent action to combat the threat of the climate crisis, which is making the wildfire season longer, more expensive and more destructive."
In 1999, Pelosi voted against the Ten Commandments being displayed in public buildings, including schools. Pelosi voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, which instituted testing to track students' progress and authorized an increase in overall education spending.
In 2019, Pelosi said that climate change was "the existential threat of our time," and called for action to curb climate change.
Pelosi has supported the development of new technologies to reduce U.S. dependence upon foreign oil and remediate the adverse environmental effects of burning fossil fuels. Pelosi has widely supported conservation programs and energy research appropriations. She has also voted to remove an amendment that would allow for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Speaker Pelosi was instrumental in the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Pelosi was a key figure in convincing President Barack Obama to continue pushing for health-care reform after the election of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown in a January special election, a defeat that was seen as potentially fatal to Democratic reform efforts. After delivering 219 votes in the House for Obama's signature health-care package, Pelosi was both praised and heckled as she made her way to Capitol Hill.
On March 10, 2017, Pelosi stated that Democrats would continue battling Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act but would also be willing to form a compromise measure in the event that Republicans were unable to pass a compromise bill and reached out for bipartisan support. She indicated her support for the Republican plan to expand Health Savings Accounts and said the question of Republicans accepting an expansion of Medicaid was important. In September, Pelosi sent a letter to Democrats praising Senator John McCain for announcing his opposition to the latest Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and called for both lawmakers and advocacy groups to put pressure on Republicans in the health-care discussion. Pelosi said the Democrats would be unified as putting "a stake in the heart of this monstrous bill".
In July 2018, during a speech at Independence First, Pelosi said the goal of the Democrats "has always been to expand coverage and to do so in a way that improves benefits ... and we have to address the affordability issue that is so undermined by the Republicans." In November 2018, after the Democrats gained a majority in the House following the 2018 midterm elections, Pelosi said, "I'm staying as Speaker to protect the Affordable Care Act. That's my main issue, because I think that's, again, about the health and financial health of the America's families and if Hillary had won, I could go home." She furthered that Republicans had misrepresented their prior position of being opposed to pre-existing conditions during the election cycle and called for Republicans to join Democrats in "removing all doubt that the pre-existing medical condition is the law – the benefit – is the law of the land".
Pelosi voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and earlier attempts at similar bans, and voted against the criminalization of certain situations where a minor is transported across state lines for an abortion (HR 748, passed).
She has voted in favor of lifting the ban on privately funded abortions at U.S. military facilities overseas (HA 209, rejected), in favor of an amendment that would repeal a provision that forbids service women and dependents from getting an abortion in overseas military hospitals (HA 722, rejected), in favor of stripping the prohibition of funding for organizations working overseas that uses its own funds to provide abortion services or engage in advocacy related to abortion services (HA 997, rejected). She also voted in favor of the 1998 Abortion Funding Amendment, which would have allowed the use of district funds to promote abortion-related activities, but would have prohibited the use of federal funds.
In February 2009, Pelosi met with her bishop, Archbishop George Hugh Niederauer of San Francisco, and with Pope Benedict XVI as a result of comments she made to Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press that many observers said inaccurately portrayed Church teaching on the subject of abortion and the beginning of life.
In a January 25, 2009 interview with George Stephanopoulos for ABC News, Pelosi said, "Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."
Pelosi stands in favor of increased background checks for potential gun owners, as well as the banning of assault weapons. In February 2013, she called for the "Boldest possible move" on gun control, similar to a stance made just weeks earlier by former Representative, mass shooting victim, and fellow gun control advocate Gabrielle Giffords. In 2012, she was given 0% ratings by both the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America for her stances on gun control.
In February 2018, following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Pelosi said Republicans cowering to the gun lobby was "an assault on our whole country" and that the victims were "paying the price for our inaction." She requested House Speaker Ryan and Republicans take action via consideration of legislation expanding background checks or authorizing researchers to use federal dollars to examine public health as it relates to gun violence. Pelosi also advocated for the creation of a special committee on gun violence and noted Republicans had previously created committees to investigate Planned Parenthood and the 2012 Benghazi attack.
In November 2018, after the Thousand Oaks shooting, Pelosi released a statement saying Americans "deserve real action to end the daily epidemic of gun violence that is stealing the lives of our children on campuses, in places of worship and on our streets" and pledged that gun control would be a priority for House Democrats in the 116th United States Congress.
Use of government aircraft
In March 2009, the New York Post wrote that the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained emails sent by Pelosi's staff that requested that the United States Air Force (USAF) provide specific aircraft — a Boeing 757 — for Pelosi to use for taxpayer-funded travel. Pelosi responded that the policy was initiated by President Bush due to post-9/11 security concerns (Pelosi was third in line for presidential succession), and was initially provided for the previous Speaker Dennis Hastert. The Sergeant at Arms requested — for security reasons — that the plane provided be capable of non-stop flight, requiring a larger aircraft. The Pentagon said "no one has rendered judgment" that Pelosi's use of aircraft "is excessive".
During a news conference on June 9, 2017, after a reporter asked her about tweets by Trump responding to the testimony of former FBI James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pelosi said no one at the White House seemed courageous enough to tell Trump that his tweets were beneath the dignity of the presidency and said that she was worried about his fitness. In November, when asked about Democrats beginning the impeachment process against Trump in the event they won a majority of seats in the 2018 elections, Pelosi said it would not be one of their legislative priorities but that the option could be considered if credible evidence appeared during the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In January 2018, Pelosi referred to Trump's 2018 State of the Union Address as a performance that was without serious policy ideas that both parties could collaborate on. She questioned Trump's refusal to implement Russian sanctions after over 500 members of Congress voted to approve them. In February, after Trump blocked the release of a Democratic memo by the Intelligence Committee, Pelosi said the act was "a stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal from the American people" and "part of a dangerous and desperate pattern of cover-up on the part of the President" who had shown he had something to hide. In March, Pelosi stated that she was "more concerned about the president's policies which undermine the financial security of America's working families" than the Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal. Pelosi did note the scandal as having highlighted a double standard of Republicans on issues of family values and expectations of presidential behavior, saying the party would be very involved if the event was happening to a Democrat. In April, following Scooter Libby being pardoned by Trump, Pelosi released a statement saying the pardon "sends a troubling signal to the president's allies that obstructing justice will be rewarded and that the idea of those who lie under oath being granted a pardon "poses a threat to the integrity of the special counsel investigation, and to our democracy." On August 15, after Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, Pelosi stated the move was "a stunning abuse of power [and] a pathetic attempt to silence critics", and an attempt by Trump to distract attention from other issues of his administration. Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer met with Trump and Pence in December 2018 to discuss changes to be made when the new Democratic representatives takes office in 2019.
In March 2008, after a meeting with the Dalai Lama, Pelosi criticized the People's Republic of China for its handling of the unrest in Tibet and called on "freedom-loving people" worldwide to denounce China. She said, "The situation in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world", while addressing a crowd of thousands of Tibetans in Dharamsala, India.
In October 2008, Pelosi commended the European Parliament for its "bold decision" to award the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Chinese dissident and human rights activist Hu Jia. Pelosi's statement read, "I call on the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release Hu Jia from prison and to respect the fundamental freedoms of all the people in China."
Pelosi criticized the imprisonment of Hong Kong democracy activists in August 2017 for their roles in a protest at the Civic Square in front of the Central Government Complex in Hong Kong. She called the ruling an injustice that should "shock the conscience of the world".
Before the Trump Administration takes concrete measures against China in late March 2018, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders pressed President Trump to focus more on China and take real punishments such as fulfill his own campaign commitments to label China a currency manipulator and stop China from pressuring U.S. tech companies into giving up intellectual property rights. Pelosi urged Trump to take a strong stand against unfair market barriers in China.
Pelosi publicly scolded Colombian President Álvaro Uribe during Uribe's May 2007 state visit to America. Pelosi met with Uribe and later released a statement that she and other members of Congress had "expressed growing concerns about the serious allegations" of links between paramilitary groups and Colombian government officials. Pelosi also came out against the Colombian free-trade agreement.
In 2008, Pelosi said: "For years, I have opposed the embargo on Cuba. I don't think it's been successful, and I think we have to remove the travel bans and have more exchanges – people to people exchanges with Cuba." In 2015, Pelosi supported President Obama's Cuban Thaw, a rapprochement between the U.S. and Castro's regime in Cuba, and visited Havana for meetings with high-level officials.
First Gulf War
In a February 15, 2007, interview, Pelosi noted that Bush consistently said he supports a diplomatic resolution to differences with Iran "and I take him at his word". At the same time, she said, "I do believe that Congress should assert itself, though, and make it very clear that there is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran". On January 12, 2007, Congressman Walter B. Jones of North Carolina introduced a resolution requiring that – absent a national emergency created by an attack, or a demonstrably imminent attack, by Iran upon the United States or its armed forces – the President must consult with Congress and receive specific authorization prior to initiating any use of military force against Iran. This resolution was removed from a military spending bill for the war in Iraq by Pelosi on March 13, 2007.
In July 2015, Pelosi said she was convinced Obama would have enough votes to secure the Iran nuclear deal, crediting the president with having made a "very strong and forceful presentation of his case supporting the nuclear agreement with Iran" and called the deal "a diplomatic masterpiece".
In 2016, Pelosi argued against the passage of two bills that if enacted would block Iran's access to the dollar and impose sanctions for its ballistic missile program: "Regardless of whether you supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we all agree that Iran must not possess a nuclear weapon. At this time, the JCPOA is the best way to achieve this critical goal."
In May 2018, after Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Pelosi said the decision was an abdication of American leadership and "particularly senseless, disturbing & dangerous".
In 2002, Pelosi opposed the Iraq Resolution authorizing President Bush to use military force against Iraq, while stating that Iraq, like "other countries of concern", had WMDs. In explaining her opposition to the resolution, Pelosi noted that Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet had told Congress that the likelihood of Iraq's Saddam Hussein launching an attack on the U.S. using weapons of mass destruction was low. "This is about the Constitution", Pelosi said. "It is about this Congress asserting its right to declare war when we are fully aware what the challenges are to us. It is about respecting the United Nations and a multilateral approach, which is safer for our troops." While Pelosi opposed, Congress still passed a resolution authorizing President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States against Iraq.
Although Pelosi voted against the Iraq War, anti-war activists in San Francisco protested against her voting to continue funding the war. UC Berkeley political scientist Bruce Cain said that Pelosi had to balance the demands of her anti-war constituency against the moderate views of Democrats in tight races around the country in her role as minority leader. Pelosi has never faced a serious challenger to her left in her district.
Pelosi reaffirms that "America and Israel share an unbreakable bond: in peace and war; and in prosperity and in hardship". Pelosi emphasized that "a strong relationship between the United States and Israel has long been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. America's commitment to the safety and security of the State of Israel is unwavering, ... [h]owever, the war in Iraq has made both America and Israel less safe." Pelosi's voting record shows consistent support for Israel. Pelosi voted in favor of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which urged the federal government to relocate the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Prior to 2006 elections in the Palestinian Authority, she voted for a Congressional initiative disapproving of participation in the elections by Hamas and other organizations defined as terrorist by the legislation. She agrees with the current U.S. stance in support of land-for-peace. She has applauded Israeli "hopeful signs" of offering land, while criticizing Palestinian "threats" of not demonstrating peace in turn. She states, "If the Palestinians agree to coordinate with Israel on the evacuation, establish the rule of law, and demonstrate a capacity to govern, the world may be convinced that finally there is a real partner for peace".
During the 2006 Lebanon War, Pelosi voted in favor of Resolution 921 on the count that "the seizure of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah terrorists was an unprovoked attack and Israel has the right, and indeed the obligation, to respond". She argues that organizations and political bodies in the Mideast like Hamas and Hezbollah "have a greater interest in maintaining a state of hostility with Israel than in improving the lives of the people they claim to represent". Pelosi asserts that civilians on both sides of the border "have been put at risk by the aggression of Hamas and Hezbollah" in part for their use of "civilians as shields by concealing weapons in civilian areas".
In September 2008, Pelosi hosted a reception in Washington with Israeli Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, along with 20 members of Congress, where they toasted the "strong friendship" between Israel and the United States. During the ceremony, Pelosi held up the replica dog tags of the three Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah and Hamas in 2006 and stated that she keeps them as a "symbol of the sacrifices made, sacrifices far too great by the people of the state of Israel".
Pelosi supported Israel in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict. In March 2018, Pelosi said that "There is no greater political accomplishment in the 20th Century than the establishment of the State of Israel."
Nancy Pelosi is one of the few members of Congress to have traveled to North Korea. She has expressed concern about the danger of nuclear proliferation from the North Korean regime, and the ongoing problems of hunger and oppression imposed by that country's leadership.
In August 2017, following Trump warning that North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" in the event of further threats to the United States, Pelosi said the comments were "recklessly belligerent and demonstrate a grave lack of appreciation for the severity of the North Korean nuclear situation. His saber-rattling and provocative, impulsive rhetoric erode our credibility."
In November 2017, after the Pentagon sent a letter to lawmakers stating a ground invasion was the only way to destroy all of North Korea's nuclear weapons without concern for having missed any, Pelosi stated she was concerned about both Pyongyang selling nuclear technology to third parties and North Korea and called for the United States to "exhaust every other remedy".
In June 2018, after Trump praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Pelosi said in a statement, "In his haste to reach an agreement, President Trump elevated North Korea to the level of the United States while preserving the regime's status quo."
In December 2017, Pelosi wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan advocating for the continued House investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on the grounds that Americans deserved "a comprehensive and fair investigation into Russia's attack" and "America's democracy and national security" being at stake. Pelosi cited the need for Congress to "fully investigate Russia's assault on our election systems to prevent future foreign attacks".
In February 2018, after the release of a Republican report alleging surveillance abuses by the Justice Department, Pelosi accused Trump of siding with President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the expense of preserving intelligence sources and methods. In July, Pelosi asserted that Trump was afraid to mention the 12 indictments against people connected to the intelligence community in Russia during his meeting with Putin and questioned what intelligence the Russians had on Trump to cause his behavior. She said that Putin would not be welcomed by Congress even if he visited Washington as a result of his actions: "Putin's ongoing attacks on our elections and on Western democracies and his illegal actions in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine deserve the fierce, unanimous condemnation of the international community, not a VIP ticket to our nation's capital." She called for House Speaker Ryan to "make clear that there is not – and never will be – an invitation for a thug like Putin to address the United States Congress."
Syria and Libya
Pelosi supports the Syria Accountability Act and Iran Freedom and Support Act. In a speech at the AIPAC 2005 annual conference, Pelosi said that "for too long, leaders from both parties haven't done enough" to put pressure on Russia and China who are providing Iran with technological information on nuclear issues and missiles. "If evidence of participation by other nations in Iran's nuclear program is discovered, I will insist that the Administration use, rather than ignore, the evidence in determining how the U.S. deals with that nation or nations on other issues." In April 2007, she visited Damascus and stated there "the road to Damascus is a road to peace".
In mid-October 2007, after the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution to label the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide, Pelosi pledged to bring the measure to a vote. The draft resolution prompted warnings from President Bush and fierce criticism from Turkey, with Turkey's Prime Minister saying that approval of the resolution would endanger U.S.-Turkey relations. After House support eroded, the measure's sponsors dropped their call for a vote, and in late October Pelosi agreed to set the matter aside.
Pelosi's only close race so far has been the special election to succeed Sala Burton's seat after her death in February 1987. In the special election's Democratic primary, Pelosi narrowly defeated San Francisco Supervisor Harry Britt, considered the more "progressive" candidate, with 36 percent of the vote to his 32 percent. In the runoff against Republican candidate Harriet Ross, Pelosi received more than a 2-to-1 majority of votes cast in a turnout that comprised about 24% of eligible voters. Since then, Pelosi has enjoyed overwhelming support in her political career, collecting 76 and 77 percent of the vote in California's 5th congressional district for the 1988 and 1990 Race for U.S. House of Representatives. In 1992, after the redistricting from the 1990 Census, Pelosi ran in California's 8th congressional district, which now covered the San Francisco area. She has continued to post landslide victories since, dropping beneath 80 percent of the vote only twice.
She met Paul Frank Pelosi while she was attending college. They married in Baltimore at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on September 7, 1963. After the couple married, they moved to New York, and then to San Francisco in 1969, where Paul Pelosi's brother, Ronald Pelosi, was a member of the City and County of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.
Nancy and Paul Pelosi have five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul, and Alexandra, as well as nine grandchildren. Alexandra, a journalist, covered the Republican presidential campaigns in 2000 and made a film about the experience, Journeys with George. In 2007, Christine published a book, Campaign Boot Camp: Basic Training for Future Leaders.
Pelosi resides in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Her 2016 financial disclosure report lists among her assets a combined home and vineyard in St. Helena, California, two commercial buildings in San Francisco, and a townhome in Loomis, California. In November 2012, a man was arrested for burglarizing Pelosi's home and others in the St. Helena area; he pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary in October 2014.
Although members of Congress are not required to disclose their exact net worth, organizations such as the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) prepare estimated ranges based on public disclosures. In 2009, CRP reported Pelosi's average net worth was US$58,436,537 having ranked 13th among 25 wealthiest members of Congress. In 2014, CRP reported Pelosi's average net worth in 2014 was US$101,273,023 having ranked 8th out of 25 wealthiest members of Congress.
Roll Call's Wealth of Congress Index reported that Pelosi's net worth was 29.35 million and that she ranked the 15th wealthiest member of Congress for 2014. According to Roll Call, Pelosi and her husband hold properties "worth at least $14.65 million, including a St. Helena vineyard in Napa Valley worth at least $5 million, and commercial real estate in San Francisco." Roll Call said Pelosi's earnings are connected to her husband's heavy investments in stocks including "Apple, Comcast, Facebook, Shutterfly and Walt Disney". Roll Call reported that the Pelosis have $13.46 million in liabilities including mortgages on seven properties.
Business Insider reported that Pelosi's worth was $26.4 million in 2012 and made her the 13th richest members of Congress.
Involvement in Italian-American community
Pelosi is a board member of the National Organization of Italian American Women. She served for 13 years as a board member of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). In 2007, she received the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Public Advocacy and remains involved in the foundation.
Honors and decorations
- Italy Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on June 2, 2007
- Japan Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun on April 29, 2015
- In 2006 she was named Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating Person of the year.
- In 2013, Pelosi was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
- She has been listed numerous times on Forbes list of the world's 100 most powerful women, including being ranked 11th in 2010 and 26th in 2014.
- She was granted an honorary Doctorate of Law degree by Mount Holyoke College on May 20, 2018.
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In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic," said one U.S. official present during the early briefings. "But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, 'We don't care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.'
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Pelosi was born in Germany in 1994 but moved to California when he was 3 years old. He also is a distant relative of the former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though he has never met her.
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Distinguished Board Member
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- Office of the Speaker official website
- Speaker Pelosi official House website
- Nancy Pelosi for Congress website,
- Nancy Pelosi at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- The American Ireland Fund Peace Award recipient
- Video Biography NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award
- Nancy Pelosi Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Trinity Graduates Win Re-election: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi '62 Poised to Become Speaker, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius '70 Wins Second Term from Trinity Washington University, November 8, 2006
- Rolling With Pelosi, from Newsweek, October 23, 2006
- Pelosi mines 'California gold' for Dems nationwide: Personal skills, wide network of wealthy donors help party's House leader gather millions, from sfgate.com, April 3, 2006
- Pelosi rides high, from The Economist, February 22, 2007
- This Is What a Speaker Looks Like, the Winter 2007 cover story to Ms.