House Democrats are rushing to defend Speaker Nancy Pelosi after a report emerged that she was kicked out of a meeting of progressive lawmakers on Thursday.
Pelosi, 81, reportedly entered the meeting and left after about 10 minutes. The Uprising, which reported the claim she was booted out by Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, stated she was there to urge the lawmakers there to support President Joe Biden‘s Senate-approved bipartisan infrastructure bill.
A video of the speaker after the meeting shows her briskly walking out of the room without stopping for questions from reporters.
The report was panned by Democrats within hours of being published. It was a rare and much-needed show of public unity for a party that’s grappled with a series of public divides over Biden’s agenda.
Staffers for Pelosi and Jayapal, 56, both disputed the account.
‘This is false. The Speaker dropped by the [Congressional Progressive Caucus] to listen but had to leave for an event honoring former Rep. Nita Lowey at the Library of Congress. She was in the room for approx 12 minutes,’ Pelosi’s Chief of Staff Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter.
Hammill, who claims to have been there for the meeting, also claimed The Uprising never contacted Pelosi for the story.
Democrats are denying reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was kicked out of a meeting by Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Pelosi was reportedly trying to get the left wing of her party to support Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan
‘You didn’t contact anyone in our comms office. I checked. Also, I was in this meeting. She wasn’t kicked out. She left to honor her friend. Update your story,’ he wrote directly to the reporter.
Jayapal spokesman Chris Evans said there was ‘zero truth to’ the story, according to reporter Ben Jacobs.
DailyMail.com has reached out to both Pelosi and Jayapal’s offices for comment.
Rep. Jared Huffman of California, a Progressive Caucus member, backed Hammill’s claim that Pelosi just stopped by to listen.
‘Confirming Drew is correct here. Wish everyone in the media would practice basic factual hygiene before posting stuff like this,’ Huffman wrote on Twitter.
Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, also part of the caucus, simply wrote: ‘This is not true at all. I was there.’
‘I remember when the goal of journalism was to get it right not just fast,’ said progressive Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin.
Nancy Pelosi’s chief of staff Drew Hammill disputed the report in multiple tweets and said the Speaker’s office was never asked for comment. Jayapal’s spokesman also denied it
According to reports from The Hill Pelosi didn’t speak during her brief appearance at the meeting. There was allegedly confusion over whether she was meant to or not.
Pocan told the outlet that Pelosi didn’t in fact request to speak. He said she was simply in ‘listening mode.’
The Thursday report cited ‘multiple sources’ who said Pelosi, arguably the most powerful Democrat on Capitol Hill, was ‘kicked out’ of the meeting.
An unnamed Democratic staffer reportedly said, ‘She got kicked out and said she was leaving anyway.’
Another journalist claimed the reporter, who also wrote Rolling Stone’s bombshell report detailing allegations by two January 6 Trump rally organizers, only sourced ‘a progressive aide’ and that ‘there was only one non-Pelosi staffer in the room for this meeting’ who disputed the claim.
A number of progressive lawmakers put on a public show of party unity in standing with Pelosi
Pelosi and Biden were working to convince members of their own party on Capitol Hill to back the newly watered-down Build Back Better plan and vote for a smaller, bipartisan infrastructure compromise.
They were hoping to secure a vote for the bipartisan measure, which already passed the Senate and contains about $550 billion in new spending, to deliver Biden a legislative win ahead of his trip to the United Nations climate summit in Europe.
But progressives are reportedly waiting for assurances that the larger measure will win the votes of moderate Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who have chipped away at its original $3.5 trillion price tag.
Yesterday Biden unveiled an overhauled version of the progressive-backed bill, now costing roughly $1.75 trillion.
Paid family leave and tuition-free community college were two parts floated in the original bill that weren’t mentioned in Biden’s thinned-out update.
Jayapal said on CNN Thursday night that her Progressive Caucus are backing the $1.75 trillion legislation. It’s unclear yet if Manchin and Sinema will do the same.
‘I really think it’s going to be quick here for us to pass both these bills through the House,’ Jayapal had said.