Nancy Pelosi Steps Up As House GOP Leaders Stumble

If anyone was in control of the House floor Friday, it was San Francisco Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, not the Republicans who won full control of Congress in November.

Less than two months into Republican governance, House GOP leaders suffered their most humiliating defeat yet on the House floor in the battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security, thanks in large part to Pelosi’s ability to marshal her shrunken Democratic minority when it counts.

The Republican leadership team, including Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, demonstrated a stunning inability to do the same.

“Pelosi and her House lieutenants are bleeding the Republicans dry,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP political analyst.

“Giving Republicans a one-week reprieve was a stroke of genius,” O’Connell said. “It should earn Democrats some goodwill with the American public,” while leaving Republican leaders a week to devise a new plan to avoid a partial shutdown of the second-largest agency in the federal government.

“Democrats can say to the American people, 'We gave the Republicans one more week to get their ducks in a row because we shouldn’t play politics with Homeland Security,’” GOP analyst O’Connell said. While both parties are playing politics with Homeland Security, “it’s just that the Democrats look better.”

It may not be enough for Pelosi and the Democrats to retake the House in 2016, given the size of the GOP majority, O’Connell said, but it “could have the public questioning Republican leadership” ahead, where a host of thorny issues await.

Read more from Carolyn Lochhead at the San Francisco Chronicle

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