OTR Interviews

Pelosi: 'Anti-Obama' element of GOP puts up brick wall to president's initiatives

Uncut: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on why she doesn't believe Obama is overstepping his executive powers, insists Democrats were respectful of George W. Bush, whether women in Afghanistan are being forgotten and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 28, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: You have heard President Obama threaten over and over that he will use his phone and his pen to bypass Congress. Well, now he has actually done it. In tonight's speech the president will announce that he is signing an executive order to raise the minimum wage for workers under new federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.


VAN SUSTEREN: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joins us. Nice to have you back. What do you make the president using his executive power? You are a legislature?

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Well, I think it's fine. We have been urging him to set the example for raising minimum wage anywhere within his power to do so. Of course, we would prefer to pass legislation to raise the minimum wage for everyone over 60 percent of those getting minimum wage are women. So we think it's really an important initiative. Millions -- lifted millions of people out of poverty, as many as 6 million. Inject money into the economy with the purchasing power it creates.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the precedent it sets and I know other presidents have used executive order. People tend to like executive order when it's your party, your president, he is a Democrat you are a Democrat. What about the whole idea of using the executive order and bypassing Congress?

PELOSI: Well, I think, again, the president has urged Congress to pass the minimum wage and they have not done so. I think the question would be more to the president if you want Congress to do so, use its power -- why not use your power by executive order to raise the minimum wage. I don't really consider it threatened to do. I think he stated that that's what he was willing to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: What if he does it again? What if he does it on something that is another issue that comes along?

PELOSI: I hope he does. There is a big movement afoot for him to pass end discrimination in the workplace against people in the LGBT community. We have passed in the Senate. We have the votes in the House. We would like it to be brought up, but, again, when you have exhausted the legislative remedy passed the Senate, bipartisan support in the House, we have the votes, the public supports it then the question is, why don't you do something about it where you have the power to do it?

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we need Congress? Are you saying we don't need Congress? Because some people would said that the whole point is that, you know, even though Congress disagrees, the House and the Senate and the Republicans and the Democrats within both chambers is that still is the legislative body. At what point does the president overstep?

PELOSI: It's a question of overstep. He is only discreetly. He is not raising minimum wage for the whole country. He is raising minimum wage for federal contractors. He would only be able to do ENDA for federal contractors. Again, it's a narrow place. It's much better for Congress to act and for it to be the law of the land more generally.

But, I remind you, the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order, many things that happened over time that would not have ever happened waiting for Congress, but then Congress followed through with, in fact, abolishing you know slavery.

VAN SUSTEREN: I expect that the president will say tonight as every other president except probably President Gerald Ford is the state of the union is strong. Always gets enormous amount of applause. But the American people are sitting out there thinking, well, if the state of the union is so strong why can't the Republicans and Democrats work together and get something done? From the outside it looks like you are feuding like unbelievably feud being like the Hatfields and McCoys and nothing will get done.

PELOSI: Well, I think that's because there is an element to the Republican Party and I tell my Republican friends take back your party, but because the party is being driven by an ideological extreme sect within the party that is anti-government. They wanted to shut it down.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anti or limited government?

PELOSI: We don't want any of us want more government than we need.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think they want no government?

PELOSI: Well, they shut it down. They are anti-government, anti-science so any of the initiatives about science and anti-Obama. So it's a trifecta that they have -- I'm not painting everyone with that brush. I'm saying that the Republicans as a grand ole party should take back their party through the force that they have been, and really dominate the debate but not cut off the debate.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, one of the things that I think the president will be speaking about tonight is Afghanistan, troop withdrawal, and I don't think any American wants to be stuck in a war and I don't pretend to have any of the answers. However, I was in the room when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Afghanistan that we would not desert those women. We would not desert Afghani women.

Now that we are starting to pull out, we see the Taliban is gaining ground in Afghanistan, certainly is gaining ground in Iraq, and gaining ground in Syria, and let me remind you, I don't pretend to have all the answers, but are we abandoning the women in Afghanistan?

PELOSI: No. We have sacrificed too much the plight of the women and the fate of the women in Afghanistan is a very important priority for us. Laura Bush she appeared at a conference on that subject for Secretary Clinton, for Republican and Democratic women and Congress and men, too. But a real priority for us we send grated deal of time.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what's going to happen when we leave? What's going to happen? Is the Taliban are going to be generous and fair with the women or do you think it's a bad --

PELOSI: -- first of all what do we mean by Taliban? Are we talking about a reconciliation with some elements of the Taliban who want to have a government that works for the people or are we talking about the extreme elements of the Taliban coming in? If we are talking about a reconciliation, that would have to have accommodations for women. And in order for that to happen and I said this to President Karzai over and over again and the secretary has and the president and everyone else has there must be women at the table.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's not happening though. I don't see that happening and I don't' see sort of the moderate Taliban. What I see reading the papers and I don't live there so I only rely on what I read. It looks very grim for the women in Afghanistan as we pull out.

PELOSI: They have made tremendous progress while we were there. I visited girls in school and women from profession.

VAN SUSTEREN: When we get out?

PELOSI: And the poor women out in the countryside, and that is priority for us in every level of economic and societal and governmental, there are women in government as well. And in order for any respect to be held by women for the outcomes in Afghanistan, women have to be at the table.

VAN SUSTEREN: Always nice to see you. Enjoy the evening.

PELOSI: Nice to see you. My pleasure.