Tuesday, November 21, 2006

**Political Buzz Exclusive** - 5 Questions For... House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi

In a Political Buzz exclusive, we are pleased to welcome Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker-designate of the House, as today's guest blogger.

As the first woman Speaker in the history of the House, Speaker Pelosi will have quite a challenge dealing with House Republicans, President Bush, and some members of her own party. Can she and the Democrats hold it all together and do something that voters felt the GOP never accomplished when they were leading Congress; actually get something done?

This also inaugurate PB's new interview and guest blog series "5 Questions For...", a series that will pose five important questions to the most influential and talked-about people in politics today.

We gave Congresswoman Pelosi five questions on some of the more pressing issues facing her as she moves into the top position in the House. Here is her guest blog with the answers:


1. Can the current atmosphere of bipartisanship between Democrats and Republicans last?

House Democrats are committed to civility and restoring bipartisan administration of the House. Under the Republican controlled House, Democrats were all but shut out of the legislative process and in doing so, millions of voices were silenced. Under Democratic leadership, we will ensure the rights of the minority, so that the voices of all Americans are heard. Our commitment to integrity, to civility, and to fiscal responsibility will not waver.

2. There is already talk of you blocking some moderate Democrats from leading House committees. Also, you have now backed John Murtha for House Majority Leader over the more moderate Steny Hoyer. As Speaker, will you allow moderate Democrats into the House power structure?

Of course. I have said many times, I intend to govern from the middle. The diversity of our Democratic Caucus is our greatest strength, and I will work with all our Members to form consensus on the critical issues facing the American people.

3. You have said that impeachment of President Bush is "off the table". But will that change if relations between Democrats and the President sour? How far will House Democrats go in their promised investigations of the Bush administration?

Congress has the Constitutional obligation of oversight and we will uphold the Constitution, but House Democrats will not seek to impeach the President. The last six years have been marked by a complete abdication of the legislative branch's job to ensure checks and balances so we have a lot of work to do, but our primary goal in Congress is to go forward with an agenda on issues that are relevant to the lives of the American people, addressing their priorities first. One example of an investigation needed, is accountability for the billions in taxpayer dollars that have been either misspent or are unaccounted for in Iraq. House Republicans blocked the formation of an independent commission to investigate the mismanagement of the reconstruction effort, and blocked a subpoena seeking all reconstruction contract communications between Vice President Cheney's office and Halliburton. For other possible investigations, you may be interested in reading the nonpartisan GAO's recent report on suggested areas for oversight or visit soon to be Chairman of the Government Reform committee Rep. Henry Waxman's web site.

4. What is your plan for taxes? Will there be rollbacks of some of President Bush's tax cuts?

In our first 100 legislative hours, we are going to start by addressing two issues of economic fairness. Oil companies are raking in outrageous record profits and these record gasoline prices and profits are the direct result of more than five years of failed policies of the Bush Administration. Bush Republican energy policies were designed for and by special interests. After developing their energy policy in secret, the Cheney Energy Task Force's agenda has served the financial interests of the energy industry while consumers have suffered. We will end tax giveaways to Big Oil companies and use that money to invest in alternative energy. We are also going to fix the Medicare prescription drug benefit by negotiating lower drug prices (like the Veterans Administration does) and by ending wasteful tax giveaways to drug companies and HMOs.

5. Iraq. Do Democrats have a plan for winning the war? What can Democrats do to actually influence Iraq policy or start the withdrawal of US troops?

I hope that the exit of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will mark the start of a new policy in Iraq and signal a willingness by the Administration to work with the Congress to devise a better way forward. Mr. Rumsfeld sent our troops to Iraq without sufficient equipment or a plan to compete their mission, provided thousands of weapons to the Iraqi army without an ability to determine whether they would be used against the insurgents or our troops, and brought our Army to the lowest level of readiness since Vietnam. Democrats support reclaiming American leadership by transforming the failed Bush Administration policies here at home, in Iraq and around the world. I support the Murtha plan for strategic redeployment of US forces from Iraq as soon as practicable and refocus on fighting terrorism. Democrats will push a policy requiring the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country and begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. We also will work to double the size of Special Forces to confront terrorist networks like al Qaeda while rebuilding a state-of-the-art military capable of projecting power wherever necessary. In our first 100 hours, we will also implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposals to make America more secure. To learn more about our plan for Real Security, visit http://www.Democrats.gov/.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with Political Buzz readers,
Nancy Pelosi


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