Fellow Democrats feted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Friday with a birthday cake on her 70th birthday as she signed the health care reform bill. The legislation is now prepped to ship it to President Obama for his signature.
During the ceremony, the speaker discussed how the legislation would benefit seniors and noted that “I am becoming more so by the minute.”
House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) briefly left the room and returned moments later holding a large chocolate birthday cake, adorned with a single, flickering candle. The words “Happy Birthday Madam Speaker” were scripted across the top with vanilla icing.
Pelosi was clearly surprised, sighing for a moment in front of her colleagues who then sang “Happy Birthday” before the speaker blew out the candle.
“Can you imagine a more important birthday privilege than health care?” asked Pelosi “This is our gift to the American people.”
The signing ceremony and birthday celebration culminated after months of intense negotiations, horse trading and parliamentary maneuvering to pass the controversial measure.
“This legislation was not a piece of cake,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI), drawing laughter.
Pelosi may be thrilled to have finally passed health care. But she confided in reporters Thursday that she really wanted a pool table for her birthday.
“I’ve always wanted to get better at it,” Pelosi.
But don’t call her “San Francisco Fats” yet. Much like the what the speaker endured on health care, there’s opposition to the pool table. And from her own caucus. Namely, her husband Paul Pelosi.
But like conjuring up the votes on health care, Pelosi says she may have a secret weapon to win her husband’s support: her grandchildren.
“It really doesn’t matter whether we go to the neighborhood pizzeria or the Fairmont Hotel. (The grandchildren) head to the pool table first,” said the speaker.
She said one of her granddaughters has taken on the job of whip to try to convince Paul to cave on the pool table.
“She said ‘I’ll work on Pop,” said Pelosi.
It’s unknown if Paul Pelosi’s opposition stems from advice offered by Professor Harold Hill in the Broadway show “The Music Man.” In the musical, Hill convinced an entire Iowa town that their community was doomed because of the arrival of a pool table.
“Ya got trouble, folks. Right here in River City. With a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for ‘Pool,’” intoned Hill.
Of course if the speaker gets her way, it could be a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for “Pelosi.”