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Tipsheet

Tragedy Strikes: Nancy Pelosi Conspicuously Nonessential to Budget Talks?

In an article (definitely worth the full read) published Friday, TIME wondered, "Has Nancy Pelosi Been Marginalized in the Debt Debate?" Well, wouldn't that be a tragedy! It seems that Leader Pelosi's presence during budget negotiations is merely being politely tolerated, as her big 'ultimatum' is that Medicare and Social Security stay off the chopping block. Apparently, reality is a tough pill to swallow - for some more than others.

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At Thursday’s White House meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner laid out in stark terms the awful economic repercussions of allowing the debt ceiling to lapse. Everyone in the room agreed that defaulting on U.S. debt would be disastrous and that something must be done. At that point, Nancy Pelosi asked: Why couldn’t the debt ceiling be decoupled from deficit reduction?

Her query, after so many weeks of reports and talks centered on deficit reduction tied to a debt ceiling deal, visibly surprised some leaders in the room, several Republican and Democratic sources say. Obama politely informed the House Minority Leader, those same sources say, that that train had left the station weeks ago. ...

But some Republican and Democratic sources point to Pelosi’s question in Thursday’s meeting as one that highlights how out of touch Pelosi has become on policy as she crisscrosses the country fundraising and recruiting candidates, working to regain the majority and her speakership.

Addendum: POLITICO reports that, if Nancy Pelosi is in fact the only positive, definite thing being cut from the budget deal so far, it isn't for lack of trying.

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Burned by President Barack Obama’s decision to keep her out of negotiations on last year’s tax deal and this spring’s budget bill, sources close to the California Democrat say she is torn between playing deal-maker on a debt limit increase and fully protecting the priorities of Democrats’ liberal base. ...

“Don’t insult us,” she said as [Jack] Lew tried to explain why House Democrats were cut out of the budget bill discussion earlier this year, according to one source who was in the room. “You guys don’t know how to count.” It was a replay of a similar jab Pelosi took at White House economic adviser Gene Sperling during a similar meeting before the budget bill deal was reached.

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