House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rallied the troops at a breakfast address to the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting in Washington, DC early Friday morning. Speaking to a ballroom that was mostly full despite reports of heavy snowfall headed toward the District, the Speaker outlined the Democratic agenda and blasted Republican alternatives.
Continuing what is becoming a growing trend among Democrats, Pelosi attacked a budget proposal by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as the “Republican budget.” She said that proposal “provides tax cuts to the wealthy, ends Medicare as we know it, and privatizes Social Security.” Pelosi said the budget proposed by President Barack Obama, which has been criticized heavily by several Senate Democrats, “is a statement of our values.”
Pelosi contrasted job losses this month with one year ago as a sign that the economy is improving. Noting that in January of 2009 the American economy shed 741,000 jobs, she characterized year’s figure of 20,000 lost jobs as a step in the right direction. “20,000 jobs lost is too much, we have to do better but it’s 721,000 fewer.” She said the stimulus bill passed by Congress in 2009 was helping to turn the economy around.
The Speaker linked the push to boost the economy to the Democrat’s major legislative push, the battle to reform health insurance. Pelosi asserted that health insurance reform legislation would pass this year. She said DNC members were the troops on the front lines in the fight to pass comprehensive legislation, “Standing together we will pass health care reform for the American people.”
As a first step to comprehensive reform, Pelosi pointed to legislation being introduced Friday by Representatives Representatives Tom Perriello (D-VA) and Betsy Markey (D-CO) to repeal the anti-trust exemption currently enjoyed by health insurance and medical malpractice insurance companies. To a standing ovation, Pelosi said that the bill “will repeal the unfair advantage health insurance companies have over Americans.”
The DNC winter meeting continues Saturday with speeches by President Obama and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine.