Pelosi's "Will" to Govern
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sees it, Democrats will get the job done in the 110th Congress.
In her "prebuttal" to the president's State of the Union Address, Pelosi today use declarative language in an effort to display her confidence in Democrats' new majority. At least five different times in her speech, delivered at the National Press Club alongside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), the California Democrat asserted that "we will" do something on four different topics, setting a bar against which she and the congressional Democrats will be measured in the next two years:
* Democrats "will" reverse the tide of global warming.
* Democrats "will" increase jobs and spur economic growth.
* Democrats "will" fund the best new scientific research.
* And Democrats "will" provide broadband internet access to every American within five years. (See video highlights below.)
After running through her laundry list of ideas that will be accomplished, Pelosi evoked the late President John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address, promising even greater things on even more grandiose topics.
"It was a great president who said, 'America will pay any price...to assure the survival and the success of liberty,'" she said, pausing for effect. "And we will."
Whether congressional Democrats will achieve any of these goals is an open question, with the 110th Congress barely two weeks old. But they've waited a dozen years just to be able to utter one phrase: "We will ..."
Finally in control, congressional Democrats now can make a promise without a roomful of reporters snickering.
And that was the message of the Pelosi-Reid "prebuttal," an annual ritual now in which Democrats try to shape the weekend coverage of the upcoming presidential address, known in Washington by the acronym, "SOTU."
Reid could be forgiven for appearing a little shocked at being able to make declaratory statements himself, recollecting that his deputy, Richard Durbin (Ill.) stood in for him at last year's prebuttal. The last time he and Pelosi did the prebuttal together was in January 2005, he recalled, just after President Bush won reelection and Senate Democrats suffered tough losses.
"What a difference a couple years make, Madame Speaker," Reid said to laughs.
It's a long road before the two leaders can declare their majority a success, and the list of ideas presented by Reid and Pelosi will run up against another top priority of Democrats -- restraining federal spending, including provisions that will not allow Congress to increase spending unless there are subsequent cuts in other areas of spending.
Evoking another grand presidential address -- President George H.W. Bush's 1988 speech in which he uttered the fateful phrase "no new taxes" -- Pelosi explained the Democrats' new spending mantra: "Pay as you go. ... No new deficit spending."
In order to meet their promises from last year's campaign trail, they will run into some problems if they stick to their deficit-fighting plans.
Watch video excerpts from the Pelosi-Reid presentation:
January 19, 2007; 3:43 PM ET
Categories: Dem. Leaders , House , Senate
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