House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) launched into a filibuster-style marathon speech to talk about the need to legalize the status of young immigrant recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Wednesday.
Pelosi took to the floor of the House at 10 a.m. ET and said she wanted to speak at length about immigration reform, citing her “leadership minute” as she launched into her speech:
Rep. @NancyPelosi: “So I'm going to go on as long as my 'leadership minute' allows.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 7, 2018
The so-called “leadership minute” is the House alternative to a filibuster, which is only allowed in the Senate. Both Pelosi and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are permitted to speak for longer periods of time than usually allotted for members of the House because of their respective roles as party leaders.
Pelosi read letters about “Dreamers” from around the country during her speech and shared the biblical tale of the Good Samaritan, along with several other religious and moral references.
“During the night when I was thinking and praying so hard about our 'Dreamers,' I thought, maybe we should just pray all day on the floor of Congress,” she said. “Maybe I should bring my rosary blessed by the pope, his holiness, Pope Francis, or the one before that, Benedict.”
She also questioned why House Republicans would not offer up the same deal to immigrants who came to the country illegally as children that their Senate counterparts did.
“Why should we in the House be treated in such a humiliating way when the Republican Senate leader has given that opportunity in a bipartisan way to his membership? What's wrong? There's something wrong with this picture,” she said.
In response, AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, told The Washington Examiner that Ryan “has already repeatedly stated we intend to do a DACA and immigration reform bill — one that the president supports.”
The minority leader continued speaking even after Senate leaders announced a two-year budget deal that would add billions of dollars in federal funds for the military, a hike in the debt ceiling and more than $80 billion for disaster relief.