Nancy Pelosi on Daily Show: Congress Is Unproductive Because of Tea Partiers With ‘No Agenda’

Nancy Pelosi blamed Congress’s lack of productivity on its most conservative lawmakers during a Thursday night interview with Jon Stewart. But she avoided giving specifics on what went wrong with Obamacare.

National Journal
Jack Fitzpatrick
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Jack Fitzpatrick
Jan. 30, 2014, 7:45 p.m.

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If it seems like Con­gress has a hard time get­ting any­thing done, Nancy Pelosi has an ex­plan­a­tion: tea-party Re­pub­lic­ans.

The House Minor­ity Lead­er told The Daily Show‘s Jon Stew­art Thursday night the “an­ti­gov­ern­ment, an­ti­science, anti-Obama” fac­tion of con­ser­vat­ives are to blame for the lack of pro­gress on a wide range of is­sues, while largely avoid­ing re­spons­ib­il­ity when pressed for an­swers on the botched Obama­care web­site rol­lout.

In a gen­er­al sense, Pelosi said, Con­gress was his­tor­ic­ally un­pro­duct­ive last year be­cause of con­ser­vat­ives who simply want to im­pede pro­gress.

“If you’re deal­ing with people who have no agenda — ‘Noth­ing is our agenda, and nev­er is our timetable’ — it’s very hard to ne­go­ti­ate with them,” Pelosi said.

Some of those more con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers even seemed de­term­ined not to stand and ap­plaud for any is­sues dur­ing Pres­id­ent Obama’s State of the Uni­on speech on Tues­day, she said.

But when Stew­art fo­cused on the spe­cif­ics of Pres­id­ent Obama’s health care law, Pelosi avoided the de­tails and fo­cused on the fact that the policy was “sol­id” and that the web­site would con­tin­ue to work bet­ter.

When asked dir­ectly what went wrong and wheth­er there were any sys­tem­ic is­sues that needed to be ad­dressed, Pelosi re­spon­ded, “I don’t know.”

In­ef­fi­cien­cies in the fed­er­al pro­cure­ment pro­cess could be to blame, Pelosi said, but she em­phas­ized that she felt good about the policy. The ins-and-outs of the rol­lout were out of her hands.

“It’s not my re­spons­ib­il­ity,” she said.

Pelosi said she did not want to make ex­cuses for the rol­lout. Sys­tem­ic prob­lems or not, she said, it should have gone bet­ter.

“What mat­ters is, it should have been pre­pared for,” she said. “There is no ex­cuse.”

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