Obama meetings couldn't have prevented gridlock, Pelosi says
March 10th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama meetings couldn't have prevented gridlock, Pelosi says

(CNN) – The stalemate in Washington is not because President Barack Obama has held himself above meeting with Republicans, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.

In an exclusive interview on CNN's "State of the Union," the chamber's top Democrat said Obama respects congressional Republicans and called "just really not reality" the idea that Obama could have prevented gridlock by meeting with the GOP sooner.

"It is not why we haven't had progress before. We haven't had progress before because the Republicans were committed to blocking the initiatives of President Barack Obama," she said.

Pelosi spoke shortly after Obama took a dozen Senate Republicans out for dinner, sat down with the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate and has plans to meet with senators and representatives from both parties on Capitol Hill next week. Washington has just over two weeks to pass a measure averting a government shutdown, which neither party wants.

House Republicans passed such a continuing resolution on Wednesday and the bill was also supported by more than 50 Democrats. It gives the Obama administration leeway on implementing the forced federal spending cuts to the defense budget, though many Democrats would also like to see leeway on the cuts to domestic spending programs.

"When we weigh the equities of the value of the bill the Senate has, it's almost impossible for it not to be a better bill than what is written by the House Republicans," Pelosi said. "But they will have to send a bipartisan bill in order to get the 60 votes. And I'm sure it will be stronger."

There is some talk off of Capitol Hill that the two branches will be able to reach a grand bargain or large government spending and deficit-reduction compromise. Pelosi said she hopes Obama's meetings will open the door for such agreement as well as compromise on legislative items.

"I certainly hope it will," she said. “I hope that it will create confidence so we can go forward with immigration reform (and) issues that relate to ending gun violence, to name two that are imminent."

And if a grand bargain deal includes entitlement reform, she said it ought to be based on the principle that Democrats "don't want to hurt beneficiaries."

"We certainly want to strengthen Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid. We want to make them more fiscally sound," she said.

But, she said, not through one avenue Republicans propose: an increase in the eligibility age for those programs.

"If the point of it is to take trophies, let's raise the age," Pelosi said, seeming to challenge Republicans. "That doesn't save money. It's a trophy. It's a scalp. But it's not a solution."

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Ed1

    That's true Obama already had his mind made up blame the Republicans like he always does kind of like pass the bill then we can read it and see what it says.

    March 10, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Ray E. (Georgia)

    No Nancy gridlock is because some do understand reality and want to do something about it.Give that lady a Fiddle. Modeling yourself after Nero seems to be the flavor of the day !

    March 10, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. plain&simple

    Timing is everything as the saying goes. Once again Obama has played his cards as dealt by the republicans. They wanted an olive branch from the president. Wanted to be wine'dand dined. Wanted the president to lead,wanted a kinder,gentler president. Ok ...now you got it!!! Put up or shut up time!!!

    March 10, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Name Catmandew

    The wicked witch of the Democratic Party has spoken! This whole mess could have been averted if Obama had started meeting with representatives much earlier. His finger pointing and jet setting all over our country to bolster support for his agenda is a big waste of taxpayer money that gains nothing for the situation! Her agenda was more of a disaster than obama's. hang them both for treason!! More proof DC is out of touch with the rest of the country!!

    March 10, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Yanni

    If renewal means recycling Bush the III is right

    March 10, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Coo

    You've heard of the "root of all evil?" Well take a good look, here is one of it's tentacles but be careful don't look too long it might burn your eyes!

    March 10, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. PL

    Has this filthy rich 1% Pelosi read the bill since it passed? Doubtful.

    March 10, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Chris


    You've heard of the "root of all evil?" Well take a good look, here is one of it's tentacles but be careful don't look too long it might burn your eyes!

    Or turn you into stone......Medusa.

    March 10, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. apetra

    It's not our fault.

    We have gridlock because the other side insists we make concessions from our hard line list of demands.

    And because we can't cut a dime, not one stink'n dime from spending without throwing overboard the poor and the middle class.

    Uh huh, got it.

    March 10, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |