March 7th, 2010
01:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Pelosi, Reid acting out of arrogance, DeLay says

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said he thinks the two leading Democrats on Capitol Hill are being arrogant in the way they're trying to get legislation passed."]
(CNN) – The man nicknamed “The Hammer” for his ability to impose party discipline faulted the two leading congressional Democrats for what he calls their “take or leave it” approach to passing legislation.

“I think what they're doing wrong is because of arrogance,” former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They have huge majorities . . . and you would think you could pass anything and pass it quickly with those kinds of majorities.

Related video: DeLay weighs in on top Dems

“Why is it? Why can't they? It's because they're going back in rooms and then telling the members, take it or leave it. You can't do that. It's obvious.”

DeLay told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that when he was a leading House Republican, he tried early on to identify the problems members of his caucus were having with particular bills.

“[A]nd we'd take care of those problems so that by the time it got to the floor, they wanted to vote for it because they had ownership of it,” DeLay told Crowley.

DeLay suggested a contrast between his approach and how he sees Speaker Pelosi operating on Capitol Hill now.

“Nancy Pelosi writes the bill,” DeLay said, “hands it to the chairman, says get it out of committee in an hour and we're going to the floor, we're going to debate it and I'll break arms if you vote against me. That will come to haunt you and bring you down.”

Crowley asked DeLay whether he missed being in the political fray with Capitol Hill’s leading Democrats.

“Twenty-two years was enough for anybody,” DeLay said of his political career, “especially in a position - that's - it's - you know, you're working 12, 14 hours a day, scheduled every 15 minutes. I was getting exhausted anyway. So, no, I really don't miss it.

“Well, I shouldn't say it that way,” he added. “I would have loved to be right in the middle of that health care reform fight.”

DeLay, a former House Majority Leader and House Majority Whip, resigned from his congressional seat in 2006 after being indicted in 2005 on charges of conspiring to violate election law as well as money laundering. DeLay has maintained his innocence throughout and his case is still under way. In his sit-down interview with Crowley, DeLay decried “the criminalization of politics.”

DeLay, who was also admonished by the House Ethics Committee during his tenure in Congress, expressed solidarity with Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, who was recently suffered the same fate at the hands of the same committee and who has taken a temporary leave of absence from his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in the wake of his ethical problems.

DeLay told Crowley that he thought the Ethics Committee’s practice of issuing public admonishments was an abuse of power. But, he also said that Rangel had no choice but to step down from his leadership post given the position Democrats have taken in the past.

“[H]e should have, because Nancy Pelosi set the standard,” DeLay said, “When I was admonished, she called for me to step down and demanded that I be set down, called me corrupt. And it ought to apply to Charlie Rangel too. The same thing happened to him, and then she tried to defend him. Now you got to be consistent. I don't agree with it, but you’ve got to be consistent.”

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

Filed under: Harry Reid • Nancy Pelosi • Popular Posts • State of the Union • Tom DeLay
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Nancy

    Truly, the more things change, e.g., Congress, the more they stay the same. In the case of politics–absurd.

    March 7, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Blutarski

    Senator Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia evidently agrees, when he recently urged his colleagues to allow filibusters to run their course and not change rules to block them.
    He wrote,
    "The Senate is the only place in government where the rights of a numerical minority are so protected. Majorities change with elections. A minority can be right, and minority views can certainly improve legislation."
    "Extended deliberation and debate-when employed judiciously-protect every senator, and the interests of their constituency, and are essential to the protection of the liberties of a free people,"
    Senator Byrd also stated "I am sympatehetic to frustrations about the Senate's rules, but those frustrations are nothing new," "However, I believe that efforts to change or reinterpret the rules in order to facilitate expeditious action by a simple majority, while popular, are grossly misguided,"
    I think Senator Byrd would know.

    March 7, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. File under "Sarcasm"

    The truth is hard to swallow, isn't it.

    The Democrats can't pass health care because their leaders couldn't find a compromise that worked even ignoring the Republicans. They were arrogant enough to believe that they could put just about anything in the bills and then force their members to swallow the poison pill regardless of their common sense, principles and what their constituents wanted.

    It doesn't work that way!

    March 7, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Martin Blonstein

    De Lay and Palin...Whatta ticket for 2012 !

    March 7, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Bob

    This right ring, has been doesn't know the meaning of honesty. Why would any one care what he thinks and why does the media give this person that attention he wants????????????????????

    March 7, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. JLM

    A man from the Bush Administration talking about arrogance, what a joke.

    March 7, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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