Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives, having made history in 2007 when she was elected the first woman to serve in that role. Now in her third term as speaker, Pelosi made history again in January 2019 when she regained her position as second in line to the presidency—the first person to do so in more than 60 years. As speaker, Pelosi is working to lower health care costs, increase workers’ pay through strong economic growth and the rebuilding of America, and clean up corruption to make Washington work for all.
Over three decades of achievement, Pelosi has used her position to effect positive change, helping a record number of women get elected to national office, speaking truth to power, and remaining steadfast in her commitment to democratic values.
For 31 years, Pelosi has represented San Francisco, California’s 12th District, in Congress. She has led House Democrats for 16 years and previously served as House Democratic Whip. In 2013, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the American women’s rights movement.
Under Pelosi’s leadership, the 111th Congress was heralded as “one of the most productive Congresses in history” by Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein. President Barack Obama called Pelosi “an extraordinary leader for the American people,” and the Christian Science Monitor wrote: “…make no mistake: Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in American politics and the most powerful House Speaker since Sam Rayburn a half century ago.”
Working in partnership with Obama, Pelosi led House passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in early 2009 to create and save millions of American jobs, provide relief for American families, and provide a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans. With the House Democratic Caucus, Pelosi continues to focus on the need to create jobs in America and prevent them from being shipped overseas.
Pelosi was the architect of the landmark Affordable Care Act, which has guaranteed protections for all Americans with pre-existing medical conditions, ended annual and lifetime limits on health coverage, and provided affordable health coverage for tens of millions of Americans while lowering health care costs over the long term.
Pelosi led the 111th Congress in passing strong Wall Street reforms to rein in big banks and protect consumers as well as the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which expands educational opportunities and reforms the financial aid system to save billions of taxpayers’ dollars. Additional key legislation passed into law included the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to restore the ability of women and all workers to access our judicial system to fight pay discrimination; legislation to provide health care for 11 million American children; national service legislation; and hate crimes legislation. In late 2010, Pelosi led the Congress in passing child nutrition and food safety legislation as well as repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
As speaker, Pelosi has made the climate crisis her flagship issue. She enacted comprehensive energy legislation in 2007 that raised vehicle fuel efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years and made a historic commitment to American home-grown biofuels. In 2009, under her leadership, the House passed the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act, a comprehensive bill to create clean energy jobs, combat the climate crisis, and transition America to a clean-energy economy. The legislation was blocked by Republicans in the Senate, but sent a strong signal to the world about the United States’ commitment to fighting the climate crisis.
A leader on the environment at home and abroad, Pelosi secured passage of the “Pelosi amendment” in 1989, now a global tool to assess the potential environmental impact of development. In San Francisco, Pelosi was the architect of legislation to create the Presidio Trust and transform the former military post into an urban national park.
Under Pelosi, the House passed the toughest ethics reform legislation in the history of the Congress, including the creation of an independent ethics panel, and increased accountability and transparency in House operations, including earmark reforms. Pelosi led the fight to pass the DISCLOSE Act in the House, which fights a corporate takeover of U.S. elections and ensures additional disclosure; she continues to fight for this legislation.
Additional key accomplishments signed into law under her leadership as speaker include: an increase in the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years; the largest college aid expansion since the GI bill; a new GI education bill for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and increased services for veterans, caregivers, and the Veterans Administration.
As House Democratic Leader, Pelosi wrested critical legislative victories out of the GOP majority. In the 114th Congress, she spearheaded a historic bipartisan agreement to strengthen Medicare, ending the cycle of expensive “Doc Fix” patches and transitioning away from a volume-based system toward one that rewards value, ensures the accuracy of payments, and improves the quality of care. Following the Iran Nuclear Agreement, Pelosi orchestrated the effort that secured the votes to uphold a possible presidential veto of Republicans’ effort to disapprove the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
A strong negotiator, Pelosi has consistently delivered significant funding increases for key Democratic priorities. In the FY 2016 omnibus, Pelosi won the permanent authorization of the World Trade Center Health Program and a massive five-year extension of expiring wind and solar renewable energy tax credits. In the FY 2018 omnibus, Pelosi won significant increases in vital domestic investments, including a $3.2 billion increase in opioid epidemic funding, a $3 billion increase for NIH medical research, and the largest single-year funding increase for Child Care Development Block Grants in the initiative’s history.
Pelosi united House Democrats through dozens of votes to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act, mobilizing a massive nationwide campaign to block House Republicans’ “Trumpcare” legislation. Under her leadership, House Democrats also unanimously opposed the GOP tax cuts.
Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service. Her late father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., served as mayor of Baltimore for 12 years, after representing the city for five terms in Congress. Her brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, also served as mayor of Baltimore. She graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five grown children and nine grandchildren.