Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 112th Congress, is focused on strengthening America's middle class and creating jobs. From 2007 to 2011, Pelosi served as Speaker of the House, the first woman to do so in American history.
Under the leadership of Pelosi, the 111th Congress was heralded as "one of the most productive Congresses in history" by Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein. President Barack Obama stated, Speaker Pelosi “is an extraordinary leader for the American people" and the Christian Science Monitor wrote: “…make no mistake: Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in American politics and the most powerful House Speaker since Sam Rayburn a half century ago.”
Working in partnership with President Obama, Pelosi led the House effort to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in early 2009 to create and save millions of American jobs, provide relief for American families, and provide a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans. With the House Democratic Caucus, Pelosi continues to focus on the need to create jobs in America and prevent them from being shipped overseas.
Pelosi spearheaded passage of historic health insurance reform legislation in the House which provides a Patients’ Bill of Rights and will provide insurance for 32 million more Americans while lowering health care costs over the long term. The new law provides patients with affordable insurance choices, curbs abuses by the insurance industry, strengthens Medicare, and will reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years.
In the 111th Congress, Pelosi also lead the Congress in passing strong Wall Street reforms to rein in big banks and protect consumers as well as the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which expands educational opportunities and reforms the financial aid system to save billions of taxpayers’ dollars.
Additional key legislation passed into law included the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to restore the ability of women and all workers to access our judicial system to fight pay discrimination, legislation to provide health care for 11 million American children, national service legislation, and hate crimes legislation. In late 2010, Pelosi led the Congress in passing child nutrition and food safety legislation as well as repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
Pelosi has made energy security her flagship issue, enacting comprehensive energy legislation in 2007 that raised vehicle fuel efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years and making an historic commitment to American home grown biofuels. In 2009, under her leadership, the House passed the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act – a comprehensive bill to create clean energy jobs, combat climate change, and transition America to a clean energy economy. The legislation was blocked by Republicans in the United States Senate, but sent a strong signal to the world on the United States’ commitment to fighting the climate crisis.
In continuing to push for accountability and transparency in government, under Speaker Pelosi, the House has passed the toughest ethics reform legislation in the history of the Congress, including the creation of an independent ethics panel, increased accountability and transparency in House operations, including earmark reforms. As Speaker, Pelosi led the fight to pass the DISCLOSE Act in the House, which fights a corporate takeover of U.S. elections and ensures additional disclosure.
Additional key accomplishments signed into law under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi include: an increase in the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years, the largest college aid expansion since the GI bill in more than 60 years, and a new GI education bill for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and increased services for the veterans, caregivers, and the Veterans Administration.
Pelosi will mark her 25th year of service in the House representing San Francisco, California's Eighth District, in 2012. She made history in November 2002 when House Democrats elected her the first woman to lead a major political party. Pelosi served as Democratic Leader from 2003 to 2007 and previously served as House Democratic Whip for one year.
Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service. Her late father, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., served as Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years, after representing the city for five terms in Congress. Her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also served as Mayor of Baltimore. She graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five grown children and nine grandchildren.