In a news conference on Tuesday, outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stood by House Democrats' performance over the last two years, stating flatly: "We have no regrets." Pelosi said that responsibility for unmet goals during the last Congress lie at the feet Republican senators.
Responding to a question about whether she was concerned about Congress's ability to address job creation and the national debt, Pelosi said House Democrats had done everything in their power to move forward on those issues.
"We in the House of Representatives have on any number of occasions sent very positive paid-for jobs initiatives to the United States Senate, where they were held up by Republicans in the Senate," Pelosi told reporters. "So, no, we have no regrets."
Pelosi said that despite the best efforts of House Democrats, significant work remained in reducing the deficit and job creation. She added that Democrats would be a "willing partner" in working with Republicans to solve those problems when provided with "positive solutions."
"This administration and this Congress inherited a near depression, and so the initiatives that we took were positive for the American people," Pelosi said. "It's not enough to save people from the depression, though; 9.5 percent unemployment is intolerable. And as long as we have that, we have to continue to fight for job creation."
"We look forward to, as I said before, being a willing partner in solving the problems of the American people," Pelosi said. "When our Republican colleagues have positive solutions, again, they will have a willing partner in solving problems for the American people."
Pelosi also defended the Democratic health care reform law Congress passed last year, and warned that repealing it would, among other things, inflict "very serious violence to the national debt and deficit." House Republicans arenext week.
"If every American was very, very pleased with his or her health insurance, it still would have been necessary for us to pass the health reform care bill, because we could not sustain the system," Pelosi said. "The cost of health care, for individual families, for small businesses for corporate America, for our economy, and also for the federal budget, was unsustainable. And that's why, this comprehensive health care reform, one of the main reasons it was necessary."
Asked to reflect upon her tenure as speaker on a personal level, Pelosi responded, "I don't really look back. I look forward."
Pelosi also announced expanded leadership roles for House Democrats Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Henry Cuellar of Texas, who will become vice chairs of the Steering and Policy Committee.