Speaker Nancy Pelosi
U.S. Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1987, winning a special election of California’s 8th district. As a member of the House of Representatives, she has served on the Appropriations Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In 2002, Pelosi was selected to be the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, making her the first woman in history earn the honor. Four years later, she again broke new ground for women in U.S. politics. After the Democrats won majorities in both the House and the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections, Pelosi was chosen to become the first woman to take the post of speaker of the House.
As the leader of the Democratic Party in the House under a Republican president, Pelosi was a vocal critic of President George W. Bush’s stance on the war in Iraq and advocated for the withdrawal of troops from the region. She lobbied for the development of better paying jobs, access to college education and affordable health care for all, and revised energy policy that focused on cleaner, more efficient domestic alternatives.
After the election of Barack Obama in 2008, Pelosi was in position to work with a president of the same party. She was instrumental in pushing for the health care reform legislation that became the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010. Pelosi remained House speaker until November 2010, when Republicans gained control of the House and elected John Boehner to the role, relegating Pelosi to minority leader.
After Democrats reclaimed control of the House in the 2018 midterms, Pelosi was once again elected House speaker at the beginning of 2019, placing her on the front line in the battle with President Donald Trump over his demand for $5.7 billion for a wall spanning the U.S.-Mexico border. The stalemate turned into a contentious 35-day government shutdown, with the speaker drawing most of the president’s ire for her control over congressional funding. However, shortly after Pelosi effectively canceled the traditional State of the Union address, scheduled for January 29, President Trump agreed to temporarily reopen the government.
After Congress passed a funding bill that allocated only $1.375 billion for the border wall, Trump declared a national emergency on February 15, allowing him to divert money for other projects to his wall. Pelosi countered by scheduling a House vote on legislation to end the national emergency, ratcheting up the pressure on Senate Republicans to take a stand on the issue.