Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi won the Democratic nomination for Speaker even though there was talk that she may not be supported by incoming Democrat and some reelected representatives. Pelosi must still be elected by the whole body in January, where the rebellion to her leadership are hoping to block her. Although the vote was secret, we already know how El Paso’s representative voted.
Pelosi was nominated by Joseph Kennedy (D-California). After Kennedy nominated her, several representatives talked about their support of Pelosi. The final tally was 203 to 32. Three votes did not count. We do not know how each member voted, however we know how Veronica Escobar voted. It is no secret that Escobar supports Pelosi as she publicly supported her after her election. Because the Speaker of the House holds the power to make appointments to committees and provides access to other caucus infrastructure, it makes sense that Escobar would be sure to let Pelosi know early on that she can count on Escobar.
Clearly, Veronica Escobar is playing the political game.
Will it be effective?
Only time will tell.
But, for those wishing for a “progressive” representation should remember that Veronica Escobar will play the safe political game. Those hoping for immigration or border leadership from Escobar should also note that those two controversial topics will likely take a back seat to healthcare, a darling of Escobar. The Democrats have little leverage against the Republican-led Senate and Donald Trump. Thus, they’ll focus on healthcare at the expense of immigration reform and other border issues.
Nancy Pelosi’s own comments about Escobar’s win betrays this reality:
“Veronica embodies the values that unite us as a party. As a fighter for hard-working El Pasoans, Veronica will continue standing up for justice in the face of corruption, work to expand access to health care and protect border communities from Trump’s constant threats.”
Note that Pelosi did not include immigrants in her statement and border issues took a backseat to healthcare and even the comment was ambiguous at best.
As a matter of fact, Escobar clearly laid out her agenda in supporting Pelosi in a statement attributed to her in Politico earlier this month: (“’It would look ridiculous’: Pelosi and allies warn against ousting a woman”; Bade, Rachel; Politico; November 12, 2018)
“We have a president who is a misogynist, a president who has been antagonistic to women’s issues… There is no better person at the very top” than Pelosi.
Unfortunately those hoping for immigration reform cannot hope for Veronica Escobar to carry the torch at House. For Escobar, healthcare and kowtowing to Pelosi are more important.