Texas Gov. Rick Perry will call on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to debate his citizen Congress proposal when he is in Washington next week, Perry spokesman Mark Miner said.
The proposal has virtually no chance of being taken seriously by Pelosi or the House Democratic Caucus, and it seems aimed at drumming up some attention from Iowa conservatives for the Republican’s presidential campaign, which has been lagging in recent national polls.
“I think it would be a tremendous service to the American people to see a public airing of these differences,” Perry said, according to an advance copy of the letter obtained by The Hill newspaper. “Let the people decide. If Monday doesn’t work, perhaps we could find a time in Iowa over the course of the next month to discuss these issues in front of the people of America’s heartland.”
Perry will be in Washington to attend a GOP candidates’ debate on Tuesday night. This week, he released a government reform plan that would make service in Congress a part-time job, slashing in half lawmakers' salaries and their office budgets. Perry says he would cut congressional salaries in half again if the body fails to balance the federal budget by 2020.
At her weekly press conference, Pelosi declined the invitation, saying she will be traveling, and also poked fun at Perry’s famed memory lapse at Saturday’s Republican candidate debate.
“He did ask if I could debate here in Washington here on Monday,” she told reporters. “Monday I’m going to be in Portland in the morning, I’m going to be visiting some of our labs in California in the afternoon, that’s two…. I can’t remember what the third thing is.”
The Perry campaign indicated it had not really expected her to accept; it concluded the invitation by bashing the Democratic leader. Its letter says, “Should you choose not to respond or engage in such a healthy discussion, I will take it to mean you will continue your obstructionist ways in the face of much needed Washington reform.”