“I’m honored to be the first, but it would be a great achievement if I’m not the last,” Pelosi said.
Figures including former House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined Pelosi in Statue Hall at the Capitol to celebrate her birthday portraits and speeches. While Pelosi will remain in Congress, she will not be speaker in the next session, nor will she be the House Democratic leader.
An emotional Boehner recalled how many times he and Pelosi worked together in Congress despite being on opposite sides of the aisle.
“Madam Speaker, you and I have publicly disagreed on many things over the years, but we have never had a bad time with each other,” Boehner said.
The former spokesman noted that his daughters asked him to tell Pelosi “how much we admire her.”
“Today’s younger generation has a saying: ‘A game is a game,'” Boehner said. “And the truth of the matter IS: No other House speaker, Republican or Democrat, has waved the gavel with such authority or with such consistent results in the modern era. “
Boehner added that Pelosi was “a tough cookie.”
In her speech, Pelosi thanked Boehner, who at times was in tears, noting that she was “a bit disappointed if he wasn’t emotional.”
Pelosi’s portrait was created by artist Ronald Scheer, who died last week. Scheer also painted Boehner’s official Capitol portrait, and Pelosi noted how the artist was able to capture “the intricate detail of the chambers of the House.”
She decided to step down from leadership of the House of Representatives after her husband, Paul Pelosi, was violently assaulted in his San Francisco home by an intruder who was looking for her. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and serious injuries to his arm and hand.
Prosecutors play 911 call, show body camera footage in Paul Pelosi attack
Paul got a standing ovation from the crowd Wednesday when he appeared in the Statue Hall wearing a cap to celebrate his wife’s achievement. In his speech, the speaker thanked him, calling him “the beloved partner of my life, my ever, everlasting pillar.”
Two of Pelosi’s closest congressional confidants, the California Democrat. Zoe Lofgren and Lucille Roybal-Allard define the speaker as a role model who, in Lofgren’s words, has taught “countless” women And the girls are proving that they “can not only make a difference, but lead, bringing about the change they hope will change the world’s seas.”
Pelosi was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1987 and became the first female speaker in 2007, serving until 2011. She succeeded Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) as Speaker of the House for the second time in 2019.
During her more than 30 years of service, she has earned a reputation as a powerful force in the face of male colleagues who sometimes undermine her work and opinions. She has scored impressive victories with multiple legislative victories on her party’s top priorities, and her ability to keep the Democratic Party together has been recognized bipartisan.
Pelosi resigns as House Democratic leader after 20 years of leadership
Schumer broke down in tears as he celebrated Pelosi, saying the strength to keep Democrats in line is one of the things he will “always admire” about her.
Schumer added that history will remember Pelosi as a lawmaker who “did it all.”
“We can’t talk about the Affordable Care Act without mentioning Nancy Pelosi. We can’t talk about the American Rescue Plan without mentioning Nancy Pelosi,” Schumer said. “We can’t talk about that [bipartisan deal on] Infrastructure, or the Violence Against Women Act, the Lily Ledbetter Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, etc. — but no mention of Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi.
Former President Barack Obama also spoke via video, reminding the crowd that his fondness for the speaker was “well documented”.
“Whenever I’m stressed about what’s going on in Washington, I always feel better knowing that Nancy is working on this case,” Obama said. “That’s because nothing is impossible for Nancy.”
Pelosi, he said, was the only Democrat who didn’t abandon his signature ACA in 2009, not even after Sen. Pelosi. The death of Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) shaved one vote off the Democrats in the Senate.
“She always said, ‘If the door closes, we’ll push it open,'” Obama recalled.
Pelosi, he said, “will go down as one of the most accomplished legislative leaders in American history.”
“Even after insurgents did break into her office,” Obama said, “she never stopped standing up for democracy at home and around the world.”
Footage from the deadly Jan. Riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 showed as mobs armed with bear spray and body armor strode through the building’s hallways in search of Pelosi — yelling “Where are you, Nancy?” and “Bring Her Out!” – She remained calm as she struggled to contact the National Guard and ensure the safety of other lawmakers.
“In the face of the insurrection, Nancy was in the same room as us, steadfast, poised and determined to defend the building and preserve democracy,” Schumer said.
Schumer added that few leaders in U.S. history have been “as efficient, motivated, successful” as Speaker Pelosi.
“Somewhere, the future lady Speaker is waiting for her chance to make a difference,” Schumer said. “When that day comes, she will be standing on the shoulders of my friend Nancy Pelosi.”